A Change of Guard

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Thursday, 23 February 2012

A European costly joke

By Sam Rainsy
February 21, 2012


In today’s Cambodia Daily article titled “EU Gives $4.8 M to Fund Human Rights Projects” one can read, “The provincial councils in Ratanakkiri and Oddar Meanchey were given [by the European Union represented by Ambassador Jean-François Cautain ] $646,000 and 547,000, respectively, to help provide support to families embroiled in land evictions.”

This must be a joke given

1- All provincial councils in Cambodia’s 24 provinces are tightly controlled by the government.

2- The government is deeply involved in, and solely responsible for, land evictions all over the country.

3- There are no serious indications whatsoever that, given points 1 and 2, any provincial council has ever supported any family embroiled in land evictions.

4- The EU, while spending European tax-payers’ money, has sadly missed an opportunity to promote the rule of law in Cambodia. Doesn’t Ambassador Cautain know that the decentralization law is constantly violated by the government and the ruling party? Doesn’t he know that all Cambodia’s provincial councils, like the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, are totally controlled by the ruling party which doesn’t give any role or any voice to the opposition? Had he bothered to also consult with the opposition SRP which is represented in all provincial councils, including those of the two concerned provinces of Ratanakkiri and Oddar Meanchey, he would not have made such a mistake.

Donor countries and institutions should remember that democratic principles with the underlying system of checks and balances, help fight corruption and promote good governance.

SRP Members of Parliament

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