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Norwegian-based CWC asks govt to properly demarcate the borders, while Hun Sen threatened to abolish the monarchy

Friday, May 28, 2010

Norwegian-based CWC asks govt to properly demarcate the borders, while Hun Sen threatened to abolish the monarchy

Left: Border post no. 270 in Takeo and (below) border post no. 313 in Prek Chak Pass in Kampong Trach in Kampot.

By Khmerization
Source: RFA

Norwegian-based Cambodian Watchdog Council (CWC) has called on the Cambodian government to protect Cambodian territorial integrity by using correct and proper methods and equipments to conduct border demarcations, reports Radio Free Asia.

CWC's call came after there are reports that villagers in Cholasa district in Takeo province publicly claimed that the planting of border post number 270 in the area had encroached on their farmlands which they farmed since 1983.

Mr. Ear Channa, Secretary General of CWC, told RFA by telephone from Norway that the planting of border posts must be done in consultation with the locals whose lands are affected and by using internationally-recognised maps deposited at the UN in 1964 by the Sihanouk government. He also appealed to the government to be transparent when planting border posts. "Officials from the civil society and the oppositions must be allowed (to monitor the post planting) and GPS (global positioning system) must be used for the border survey and these days it is not difficult like the the olden days where we have to go to survey or measure the areas by using the metric system. They now use GPS which is a modern system which is showing perfectly clear to the general public to ensure that the demarcations are done transparently and the planting of border posts did not cause Cambodia to lose any lands. The government must put national interests above all else and must listen to people's opinions and respect the constitution. If we used the map recognised by the UN, I'm sure the work will be done properly", he said.

Var Kimhong, chairman of Cambodian Border Commission, said earlier that he had not received the report border the border encroachment at border post number 270 yet. And calls to his mobile phone yesterday went unanswered.

However, Mr. Son Sotheany, chairman of the 4th Cambodian Demarcation Commission of Land Boundary, told RFA that the villagers' claims are baseless. "(The border post) did not fly any Vietnamese flag, there is nothing, but it is only a wooden stake with number 270 written on it. It is a location number of a temporary border post only, not a concrete post at all. We haven't constructed the concrete border post yet", he said.

Many analysts said that Cambodia's borders with Vietnam have become a very sensitive issue for the present government which was propped up by the invading Vietnamese forces in 1979. In 2005, Prime Minister Hun Sen had ordered the arrests, jailings and exiles of many leaders of the opposition parties as well as leaders of the civil society after they publicly opposed the ratification of the 1985 Supplemental Treaty in 2005. Critics said that that treaty caused Cambodia to lose large chunk of territories from Kampot province up to Rattanakiri province.

Mr. Hun Sen had also threatened to abolish the monarchy after King Sihamoni, taking advice from his father Ex-King Sihanouk, hinted that he might not agree to sign to ratify the 1985 Supplemental Treaty. "I have talked with Samdeck Krom Preah (Ranariddh) that 'Your Royal Highness had talked with Excellencies Sun Chanthol (Minister of Public Works and Transport Minister), Kol Pheng (Minister of Education), Ing Kantha Phavi (Minister of Women's Affairs) and Sisowath Pannara (Minister of Culture) on the plane and I told Samdech Krom Preah through telephones as well that if it is too difficult (for the king) to sign (the treaty) we must reconsider whether to keep the monarchy or declare a republic and appoint a president or insert a clause in an article of the constitution which requires a time limit for a signature or a royal signature and if there is no signature, it (treaty or documents) shall become effective automatically'", declared Mr. Hun Sen.

The present border uproar came after opposition leader Sam Rainsy led about 100 villagers to uproot six border wooden stakes in Chantrea district in Svay Rieng province in late 2009 after they alleged that the plantings of boder posts in the area had encroached on their farmlands. Two villagers were sentenced to one year jail and Mr. Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to 2 years jail.




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