Thursday, 02 October 2014

Khmer Radio / Hello VOA

National Grieving Shows Importance of Monarchy: Analyst

Cambodian mourners gather for prayer to the Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. King Norodom Sihamoni and his mother, Queen Monineath on Tuesday visited mourners gathered in front of the Royal Palace from across the country to pay tribune to late Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk.Cambodian mourners gather for prayer to the Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. King Norodom Sihamoni and his mother, Queen Monineath on Tuesday visited mourners gathered in front of the Royal Palace from across the country to pay tribune to late Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk.
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Cambodian mourners gather for prayer to the Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. King Norodom Sihamoni and his mother, Queen Monineath on Tuesday visited mourners gathered in front of the Royal Palace from across the country to pay tribune to late Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk.
Cambodian mourners gather for prayer to the Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. King Norodom Sihamoni and his mother, Queen Monineath on Tuesday visited mourners gathered in front of the Royal Palace from across the country to pay tribune to late Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk.
Men Kimseng
The outpouring of grief at the funeral and cremation ceremonies for the last king Norodom Sihanouk are proof that the monarchy remains relevant to many Cambodians, a leading analyst says.

Many tens of thousands of mourners have come to the capital to grieve for Sihanouk, who died in Beijing in October. His body was cremated on Monday, and ceremonies have been held throughout the week.

Many mourners came to the capital despite severe restrictions on their participation, Lao Monghay, an independent political analyst, told “Hello VOA” Thursday. That support comes in spite of the monarchy’s current inability to exercise all its power, he said.

Sihanouk was a known political figure, one who led Cambodia through its independence and was a leader during its post-Khmer Rouge years and the civil strife that followed. He was generally loved or respected by most Cambodians, despite his early support for the Khmer Rouge guerrillas as they came to power.

After the Paris Peace Accords, signed in 1991 after talks in which Sihanouk was a key player, Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy. But the role of the Royal Palace has since receded into the political background of the country, Lao Monghay said.

People often seek the help of the throne, held now by Sihanouk’s son, King Norodom Sihamoni, for help on social justice, human rights abuses, improper imprisonment and other issues, Lao Monghay said.

“But it is like the kings cannot intervene on anything, or review any proposals in a positive way,” he said of the current political climate. “This is not their mistake. It’s because the authorities don’t help them fulfill their role.”

Sihanouk’s Golden Urn Returned to Royal Palace i
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07 February 2013
The urn containing the late king Norodom Sihanouk’s remains was moved out of its crematorium on Thursday and into the Royal Palace, its final place of rest, on the last day of a weeklong funeral rite for the former monarch. A portion of Sihanouk’s remains were cast into the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers on Tuesday. A golden urn containing the other portion was moved from the Preah Meru field, where Sihanouk’s cremation took place on Monday, to the palace, in a procession limited to members of the royal family and key dignitaries. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh.

For example, new laws now put a commission in control of who should be pardoned by the king, which is counter to the intent of the constitution, he said.

“There is no need to have anyone provide additional protection or support [for pardons],” he said. “They simply have to respect what is in the constitution on the role of the king.”

In another example, the king is supposed to be the commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, he said. This has never been granted.

“Have the king or the King Father ever worn military uniforms to review the troops,” he said, referring to the current monarch and to Sihanouk, who was known after his 2004 abdication as King Father. “This is something they should occasionally allow the king to do.”

Neglecting the role of the monarchy in Cambodian society can have negative consequences, limiting the throne’s ability to maintain stability in the country, Lao Monghay said.

This happened both during the period of Marshall Lon Nol, who led the country after a US-supported coup that dethroned Sihanouk in 1970, and during the Khmer Rouge years that followed, he said.
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Cambodia Foreign Minister UN Speech Touches More on World Issues, Less on Cambodiai
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29 September 2014
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong's speech to the UN’s General Assembly on Monday in New York touches more on world issues and less on Cambodia. Before delivering his speech at UNGA, Hor Namhong told VOA Khmer that Cambodia was now enjoying peace and political stability after the two winning political parties in 2013 election had agreed to work together. His speech comes as Cambodia’s profile on the world stage has expanded in recent years. Cambodia has and improved economy and a growing participation in UN missions around the world. But Hor Namhong’s speech also comes amid deep criticism of Cambodia’s human rights record and a controversial agreement with Australia to help it resettle refuges in exchange for aid money. (VOA Khmer's Pin Sisovann, Washington)

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