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Archive for July 27th, 2008

Cambodia’s Hun Sen, one-eyed guerrilla turned to statesman

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www.ChinaPost.com

Monday, July 21, 2008
By Patrick Falby, AFP

PHNOM PENH — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen lost an eye as a Khmer Rouge guerrilla in the 1970s, but later abandoned the movement in his own ruthless drive to secure power and undercut all his rivals.

The 55-year-old premier has vowed to remain Cambodia’s head of state until he is 90, and has been on top so long that many fear the country will collapse if he is suddenly removed.

Voters appear unlikely to end Hun Sen’s 23-year rule when they go to the polls on July 27, with his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) expected to romp to victory.

His confidence is so complete that he has taken the unusual tactic of not campaigning for his re-election.

“I will not participate during the campaign. I don’t want to face confrontation because during that time of year many people will criticize the CPP,” he said.

And yet Hun Sen’s presence is felt everywhere.

Outside of campaign season, Hun Sen appears in public almost every day. He is flown throughout the countryside in his helicopter to give televised speeches at the openings of pagodas, schools and bridges.

The message: Hun Sen brought you this.

“If I vote for a new political party, there might be chaos,” said Say Phumivaun, a 19-year-old student from western Battambang province, voicing a familiar sentiment.

To rural villagers, Hun Sen is also the Cambodian everyman. His sharp, populist wit and humble upbringing making him one of their own.

He often veers from prepared remarks — launching into coarsely-worded rants against phantom coups, arrogant foreigners or international demands for reform.

Born the third of six children to peasant farmers in central Cambodia, Hun Sen moved to the capital Phnom Penh at age 12, where he was so poor he was forced to live in a Buddhist pagoda while attending school.

When Cambodia fell into civil war in 1970, he became a foot soldier for what later emerged as the Khmer Rouge — the genocidal regime behind Cambodia’s killing fields.

Hun Sen claims he opposed the Khmer Rouge as early as 1975. But he remained with the movement, losing an eye in the fighting and rising to the rank of deputy regional commander.

He married field nurse Bun Rany in a mass ceremony in 1976, but fled a year later to Vietnam as the regime that killed up to two million people was consumed by its own paranoia, purging thousands.

Hun Sen returned in 1978 with other Cambodian defectors and Vietnamese troops who pushed the Khmer Rouge into the country’s far northwest, where fighting lasted for another two decades.

He quickly rose to the top of the Hanoi-installed government of the 1980s, becoming the world’s youngest prime minister in 1985.

As his country emerged from conflict, he abandoned the communist dogma of his Vietnamese patrons, embracing the free market and seeking out alliances with more powerful nations.

Today, the strongman has maneuvered his country from civil war into a position of growing regional influence and an avid partner with China and the United States.

Garment exports and tourism have brought double-digit economic growth, but Cambodia remains one of the world’s poorest countries.

His administration is mired in corruption and Hun Sen is frequently the target of criticism that he tramples basic rights to keep his grip on power.

In 1993, he manhandled victory away from the country’s royalists following Cambodia’s first elections, backed by the United Nations.

He secured a power-sharing deal with the royalists, but ultimately ousted them in a bloody 1997 coup.

Hundreds of people were killed in the run-up to elections the following year. Protests against Hun Sen’s victory were put down violently.

The last national election in 2003 was far less violent, but plunged the kingdom into a year of political stalemate as parties wrangled over forming a coalition.

This year’s campaign is much calmer than the past, possibly because Hun Sen no longer faces any major rivals.

Copyright © 2008 The China Post.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/asia/other/2008/07/21/166473/Cambodia’s-Hun.htm

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 27, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Posted in Burma's Geopolitics

Tagged with , ,

Give human rights body teeth

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Bangkok Post, 27 July 2008

Editorial

The Asean (the Association of South East Asian Nations) charter signed at the group’s summit in the past week boldly declared the pursuance of human rights in the region as a core value, but unfortunately the signs coming out of the 41st Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Singapore are that when the Asean human rights organisation does finally comes on line it might be toothless.

An Asean human rights body is a long time coming. At the 26th AMM, also held in Singapore, all foreign ministers agreed that Asean should coordinate a common approach on human rights and actively contribute to the application, promotion and protection of such rights. It furthermore agreed that Asean should consider the establishment of an appropriate regional mechanism on human rights. At the 41st AMM, the membership of a High Level Panel (HLP) was established to draft the terms of reference (TOR) for a human rights body was formalised. The panel is to present its work at the 14th Asean summit in December 2008 in Bangkok.

But reports from Singapore indicate that some countries within the 10-member regional grouping – Burma in particular – are already putting severe limits on the functionality of any Asean human rights organisation. According to an anonymous diplomatic source, on Tuesday the HLP met with foreign ministers in a closed-door session in which Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win told the panel it should uphold the Asean tradition of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states and reject a monitoring capacity for the human rights body.

If agreed to, this provision would effectively prohibit a proper investigation of human rights abuses. It has already been tacitly agreed that the human rights body will not have the power to impose sanctions on any member state or seek prosecution for alleged offenders. The lack of a monitoring capacity would make it easy for governments to deny access to alleged victims.

If Burma s wishes are honoured by the panel – and to be sure, Burma is not alone in its position – what exactly will the human rights body be able to accomplish? It seems that the most we could hope for is issuing statements, with some authority, based on reports compiled by journalists and NGOs.

To its credit, Thailand has for some time taken the high ground on the formation of a human rights body, along with Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, and lobbied for greater empowerment. However, this movement has been led by segments of governmental and civil society which are naturally predisposed to human rights advocacy.

It is uncertain how the influence of sitting politicians in these countries will shape the final draft of the TOR, but it seems likely they will be more than happy to limit the scope of the human rights body and let the blame fall on Burma.

In fairness, although it is true that Asean is the world’s only major regional grouping without a formal human rights mechanism, the sacrifice of human rights to political expediency is hardly unique to this region.

The same criticism was leveled at the United Nations Human Rights Committee, whose membership and even leadership at times included states with appalling human rights records.

The remodeled UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), established in March 2006, is an improved, but still very flawed mechanism.

Yet the UNHRC does have the power to act if it chooses to, as it has on Darfur in heping to prepare a case for the International Criminal Court, over the objections of powerful member-state China. The coming Asean human rights body is in danger of having weakness written into it before it ever becomes a reality.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/270708_Perspective/27Jul2008_pers004.php

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 27, 2008 at 1:26 pm

အေမရိကန္စစ္၊ တရုတ္စစ္ နဲ႔ ဗမာစစ္

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စည္းလံုးျခင္းရဲ႕အင္အား ဆိုတဲ့ ဘေလာ့ဂ္က စာေကာင္းတပုဒ္ပါ။ ကူးယူေဖာ္ျပလိုက္ပါတယ္။ ဖတ္သင့္၊ မွတ္သင့္၊ ေလ့လာသင့္၊ ျဖန္႔ေဝေပးသလုိ ျပင္ဆင္စရာ ရွိတာေတြလည္း ျပင္ဆင္ၾကရပါေတာ့မယ္။

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အေမရိကန္စစ္၊ တရုတ္စစ္ နဲ႔ ဗမာစစ္

ဆရာ ဂါမဏိ

……………………..အဓိကေျခကုတ္ျဖစ္စရာရွိတဲ့ ထိုင္းႏိုင္ငံကို သူ႔ရဲ႔ေလေၾကာင္းနဲ႔ ေရေၾကာင္း အားသာမႈေတြ အျပည့္အဝအသံုးမခ်ႏိုင္ခင္ စစ္ပြဲစၿပီးရက္ပိုင္းအတြင္း ဗမာစစ္တပ္ရဲ႔ အဓိကအားကိုးရာ ၾကည္းတပ္နဲ႔ ဘန္ေကာက္ အထိ အျမန္ဆံုးတက္သိမ္းဖို႔၊ ျပည္တြင္းကေန အေမရိကန္တပ္ေတြကို အားေပးကူညီ သူေတြျဖစ္ဖို႔ အလားအလာရွိသူပုဆိန္ရိုးေတြလို႔ နအဖကသတ္မွတ္ထားတဲ့ အမ်ဳိးသားဒီမိုကေရစီအဖြဲ႔ခ်ဳပ္ ဝင္ေတြ၊ ေက်ာင္းသားေဟာင္းေတြ၊ တျခားအတိုက္အခံႏိုင္ငံေရးသမားေတြ၊ လူမ်ဳိးစုတက္ၾကြလႈပ္ရွားသူေတြကို အျပတ္ရွင္းပစ္ဖို႔ စီမံခ်က္ေတြ ဆြဲထားပါတယ္။

ဒါေၾကာင့္ ဒုတိယစီမံခ်က္အတြက္ ထိုင္းႏိုင္ငံရဲ႔ စစ္ဖက္ဆိုင္ရာအခ်က္အလက္ေတြကို အနီးကပ္ေထာက္လွမ္း ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ၿပီး ၾကည္းေၾကာင္း စစ္ဆင္ေရးအတြက္ အခ်က္အလက္ေတြ စုေဆာင္းျပင္ဆင္ေနပါတယ္။ နယ္စပ္တေလွ်ာက္မွာလည္း ၁၂ဝမမ စိန္ေျပာင္းႀကီးနဲ႔၊ ၁ဝ၅မမ အေျမာက္ႀကီးေတြ၊ ေ၀ဟင္ပစ္ HN-5 အမ်ိဳးအစား နဲ႔ HN-2 အမ်ိဳးအစား၊ ေျမျပင္က ေ၀ဟင္ပစ္ ဒံုးလက္နက္ေတြအျပင္ 12.7mm ေလယာဥ္ပစ္ စက္ေသနတ္ႀကီးမ်ား၊ ေျမျပင္က ေျမျပင္ပစ္ 106mm, 107mm ဒံုးပစ္လက္နက္ေတြနဲ႔ ကြန္ျပဴတာ၊ အီလက္ထရြန္နစ္ ပါရွိေသာ ေရဒါမ်ား ခ်ထားၿပီးသြားၿပီျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ တတိယစီမံခ်က္အျဖစ္ေတာ့ ႏိုင္ငံေရးလႈပ္ရွားသူ ၁၂၂၁ ဦးရဲ႔ “နာမည္ဆိုးစာရင္း” ျပဳစုထားၿပီး အေမရိကန္ က်ဴးေက်ာ္ တိုက္ခိုက္မႈ စတင္တာနဲ႔ အျမန္ဆံုးသုတ္သင္ပစ္ဖို႔ တိုင္းစစ္ဌာနခ်ဳပ္ေတြကို အမိန္႔ေပးထားတယ္။

လက္ေတြ႔ျပည္တြင္းစစ္ဆင္ေရးအစီအမံေတြအျဖစ္ “ျပည္သူ႔စစ္မဟာဗ်ဴဟာ” ဆိုတာကို ခ်မွတ္ထားရာမွာ ေက်းရြာအုပ္စုတခုကို ျပည္သူ႔စစ္ တပ္ရင္းတရင္းႏႈန္းဖြဲ႔စည္းဖို႔၊ ျပည္သူ႔စစ္တပ္ရင္းေတြ ဖြဲ႔စည္းရာမွာ တပ္ရင္းမႉးအဆင့္အပါအဝင္ စစ္မႈထမ္းေဟာင္းေတြကို အမာခံထား ဦးစီးေစဖို႔၊ ဒုတိယဆင့္အမာခံအျဖစ္ စစ္သား၊ ရဲနဲ႔ မီးသတ္၊ ၾကက္ေျခနီေတြရဲ႔ ဇနီး သားသမီးေတြ၊ တတိယဆင့္အမာခံအျဖစ္ အစိုးရဝန္ထမ္းေတြ၊ စတုတၳဆင့္အမာခံ ကေတာ့ အစိုးရဝန္ထမ္းေတြရဲ႔ ဇနီး ခင္ပြန္း သားသမီးေတြနဲ႔ ျပည္သူ႔စစ္ကို မတည္ဖို႔၊ နအဖရဲ႔ တရားဝင္တပ္ဖြဲ႔ေတြအားလံုး ေရွ႔တန္းထြက္ေစၿပီး ေနာက္တန္းနယ္ေျမအားလံုးရဲ႔ ကာကြယ္ေရး လံုၿခံဳေရးကို အဲဒီ ျပည္သူ႔စစ္တပ္ရင္းေတြက လံုးဝတာဝန္ယူဖို႔၊ မီးသတ္ေတြနဲ႔ ၾကက္ေျခနီေတြကို စစ္တပ္အသြင္ ဖြဲ႔စည္းေလ့က်င့္ဖို႔၊ စစ္ျဖစ္တာနဲ႔ တၿပိဳင္နက္ တျပည္လံုးမွာ အက်ဥ္းနည္းစစ္ေဆးကြပ္မ်က္ေရးအာဏာ အျပည့္ခ်ဖို႔၊ တပ္အားလံုး ေနာက္တန္းဌာနခ်ဳပ္ေတြကို အေသမကာကြယ္ဘဲ မိမိေဒသတြင္း ေက်းလက္ ေတာေတာင္ေတြမွာ လႈပ္ရွားအေျချပဳဖို႔ အစီအစဥ္ေတြ ပါဝင္ပါတယ္။ ပ်ဥ္းမနားၾကပ္ေျပးကို ၿမိဳ ့ေတာ္ေရႊ႔တာ၊ ေရဇင္းအေရွ႔ဘက္ ေတာင္ေပၚေတာထဲမွာ လွ်ဳိ႔ဝွက္ေျမေအာက္စခန္းႀကီး ေဆာက္ထားတာေတြလည္း ဒီအစီအမံ ေအာက္မွာပဲ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ဘိုးေတာ္ဘုရားေခတ္ကလို လူအင္အား အေရအတြက္ကိုသာ အားထားေနတဲ့ နအဖတပ္ဟာ အသက္ျပည့္တာ မျပည့္တာ၊ စစ္ထဲဝင္ဖို႔ သတ္မွတ္စံခ်ိန္ေတြ မွီတာမမွီတာကို ဂရုမစိုက္ေတာ့တဲ့အတြက္ စစ္တပ္တခုလံုးရဲ႔ ဆယ္ပံုတပံုဟာ ခေလးစစ္သားေတြ ျဖစ္ေနပါတယ္။ ………………………….

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