Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Do Khmers really love Khmers?



Do Khmers really love Khmers?

Do Khmers really love Khmers?

Dear Editor,

Reading the article "Deputy Governor faults land-grabbing report as biased, un-Cambodian", (June 9) made me realise with sadness that Cambodian government officials do not seem to appreciate that by continuing to hide evictions beneath the banner of development, they are pushing the people being evicted to desperate actions that may lead to instability.

The Licadho report is a compassionate, well-researched, factual and moving report on the plight of the people who have lost their land through forced evictions by powerful elites that control today's Cambodia.

It is becoming more and more common for Cambodian officials to respond to factual criticism on forced land grabbing, corruption and other violations of human rights as "foreign interference in Cambodia's internal affairs".

The logo "No one loves Khmer more than Khmer" is becoming the fashionable mantra of the government's response to any critical remark to its actions. I often wonder if this "No one loves Khmer more than Khmer" really comes from the heart of the officials who use it.

Otherwise, how do you explain the violent deaths of Piseth Pilika, Chea Vichea and so many other Khmers?

Yet, while Cambodian officials become more and more "anti-foreigner", they do not seem to have any compunction to constantly request further funds from foreign countries, which continue to support the Cambodian government's request for assistance because of their genuine concern for the welfare of the people of Cambodia.

The contemptuous manner in which Professor Yash Ghai, the former special representative of the UN Secretary General for Human Rights, and Ms Carol Rodley, the US Ambassador to Cambodia, have been treated by government officials for drawing attention to genuine violations of human rights, such as land grabbing, and other problems such as the corruption affecting the livelihood of the less privileged of Cambodia, is morally wrong, historically unsound and totally unacceptable.

Cambodian government officials need to understand that foreign governments, in particular the signatories of the 1991 Paris Agreements who are the guarantors of the Cambodian people's rights, cannot remain silent in front of so much injustice.

Likewise, we ordinary citizens of the countries that provide multiform assistance to Cambodia, contribute through our taxes to the national reconstruction of Cambodia and, therefore, have the right to expect our respective governments not to remain silent when these continuous violations of human rights take place in Cambodia.

Ambassador Julio A Jeldres

Adjunct Research Fellow

The Asia Institute, Monash University

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and