Wednesday, 01 October 2014

Cambodia

Residents Who Painted ’SOS’ To Obama on Rooftops Released After Brief Detention

The incident underscores the distrust many Cambodians have for local authorities or the courts to solve even the simplest of disputes.

People display portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama on the roof of their houses near Phnom Penh Airport November 14, 2012. Around 182 families living around the airport have been served with eviction notices ahead of Obama's historic visit to the country.People display portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama on the roof of their houses near Phnom Penh Airport November 14, 2012. Around 182 families living around the airport have been served with eviction notices ahead of Obama's historic visit to the country.
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People display portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama on the roof of their houses near Phnom Penh Airport November 14, 2012. Around 182 families living around the airport have been served with eviction notices ahead of Obama's historic visit to the country.
People display portraits of U.S. President Barack Obama on the roof of their houses near Phnom Penh Airport November 14, 2012. Around 182 families living around the airport have been served with eviction notices ahead of Obama's historic visit to the country.
Kong Sothanarith, Say MonyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Eight residents of Phnom Penh were briefly detained through Thursday evening, for painting the words “SOS” on the corrugated roofs of their homes, next to pictures of US President Barack Obama.

Their homes are adjacent to Phnom Penh International Airport, and the detainees, who were later released, said they had hoped Obama would see their signs from his plane when he arrives for a series of summits and meetings next week, and help them in a local dispute with authorities over their land.

“The government pulled five meters of our land without compensation,” said Ouk Sokunthea, 20, whose brother was among those arrested. Authorities demanded home owners erase the messages, and when they refused, arrested them in handcuffs, she said.

The incident underscores the distrust many Cambodians have for local authorities or the courts to solve even the simplest of disputes.

Kong Phalla, a tuk-tuk taxi driver, said his wife was among those arrested in what he called “a violation of human rights.”

Meanwhile, Cambodian officials say they will not discuss human rights issues with Obama during bilateral talks next week.

Obama has been urged by US lawmakers and international rights groups to discuss Cambodia’s sliding rights record when he meets with its leaders.

Residents Who Painted 'SOS' To Obama on Rooftops Released After Brief Detentioni
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VOA Khmer
15 November 2012
Eight residents of Phnom Penh were briefly detained through Thursday evening, for painting the words "SOS" on the corrugated roofs of their homes, next to pictures of US President Barack Obama. Their homes are adjacent to Phnom Penh International Airport, and the detainees, who were later released, said they had hoped Obama would see their signs from his plane when he arrives for a series of summits and meetings next week, and help them in a local dispute with authorities over their land. VOA Khmer's Kong Sothanarith and Say Mony, Phnom Penh.

But Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Thursday that bilateral talks with the president will center around the “good relationship between the two countries only.”
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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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