. . .
. . .
សេចក្តីប្រកាស ជាសកល ស្តីអំពី សិទ្ធិមនុស្ស
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This version is from a couple of translations published by the UNOHCHR (booklet, webpage) which I have edited mainly with regards to spacing and punctuations for easier comprehension.
On occasions, I have corrected translation inaccuracies.
– Theary C. Seng, Phnom Penh, Nov. 2012
. . .
Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams
The Wall Street Journal, 18 Nov. 2012
. . .
The International Herald Tribune
13 Nov. 2012, Mark McDonald
. . .
"Tell Them That I Want to Kill Them”
Two Decades of Impunity in Hun Sen’s Cambodia
November 13, 2012, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
This 68-page report documents key cases of unsolved killings of political activists, journalists, opposition politicians, and others by Cambodian security forces since the 1991 Paris Agreements, which were signed by 18 countries, including the five permanent United Nations Security Council members. The Paris Agreements and the subsequent United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission were supposed to usher in a new era of democracy, human rights, and accountability in Cambodia. More than 300 people have been killed in politically motivated attacks since then, yet not one case has resulted in a credible investigation and conviction.
. . .
Violence, you're so boring!
YAWNING. Violence is soooo boring. Intimidation is sooo uncreative. Violent men are such cowards. Violent women are such haggards. All function with such deep ignorance, with such lack of imagination.
DEEP, DEEP YAWN. My little nieces have more imagination, more creativity, more spunk in their little finger for their grace, for their compassion, for their empathy, than all the brutes who can only grunt and spew out vulgarity.
It is ALWAYS the case that it takes more creativity, more imagination to love than to hate; more strength, more courage to do justice than to exact violence.
- Theary C. Seng, 15 Nov. 2012
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. . .
Radio Netherlands Worldwide
8 Nov. 2012
Since the beginning, the court has been plagued by a series of high-profile resignations, political set-backs and myriad controversies, including questions about who exactly should be prosecuted. An issue not helped by the fact that the leaders of today are barely discernible from the Khmer Rouge leaders of that time. Current leader, Prime Minister Hun Sen is a case in point...
‘I had no idea before I got there that it was such a repressive regime’, he says. ‘I have always lived in democracies and I have to say that even when I worked at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, it was a haven of free speech compared to what I encountered in Cambodia..’...
‘There’s this one-party state and this towering figure of Hun Sen who’s been in power since the Khmer Rouge regime ended in 1979. Everyone is terrified of him. He has not shied away from killing members of the opposition in the past, so it’s not a pleasant atmosphere. I’m not sure if the court infects Cambodian society or whether society infects the court - either way, it’s not a shining example for the Cambodian people and it’s unlikely to have a positive legacy’...
. . .
Defensive Living in a Land of Robber-Barons; Lose the False Sense of Security in this Kew-Kew! Kew-Kew!
(edited from Facebook postings of Tuesday, 6 Nov. 2012)
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” -- the long-suffering Job
I was getting to be too unhealthily attached to my iPhone 4 and the alligator purse, anyway. May these items either return to me or may they be transferred from the hands of the thieves into cleaner, more deserving hands.
While walking home along Trasaek Paem (Str. 63, almost nearing the busy intersection of Hotel Champs Elysee) after lunch with friends earlier this Tuesday (Nov. 6) afternoon (approx. 1:15 p.m.), I was accosted by two young men on a brand new motorbike ("zero-thirteen" to stand for 2013 brand) without a license plate, who whizzed by from behind and snatched the hand-clutched purse from my fingers. No amount of "Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!" from my strong vocal cords could stop the crime-in-action.
After almost 2 months away in carefree Iceland, France, Australia, Sweden and Switzerland, I was carried away by the false sense of security and had forgotten the brokenness and crime-ridden environment I live in.
A good early reminder that I am back home, before something worse happens.
When last year (Khmer New Year 2011) at Metro Cafe, I lost my Nokia phone, that was an intentional theft, where I was systematically followed for my advocacy of Khmer Rouge Tribunal Cases 003/4. Today, it was random, idiotic thievery, with little meaning, besides a not-so-gentle reminder to me of where home is again.
(With these thefts, more frustrating than the physical loss of the material goods is the loss of and/or the hassle of retrieving data, the fear of their manipulation. I've come to take it as a given that my email is bugged, my phone is bugged, and that privacy is a dream of a long-gone era. So, when my little bit of private space I do have left (freedom to walk about, freedom to be in a tank top and shorts at my own home which is the closest thing I have to a private sanctuary) is violated, you can understand how I can be a bit not-so-happy. As I've said, I take monitoring by the government as a given, and I've learned to be as comfortable as a person can be in these circumstances. Transparency is key. But what is a bit uncomfortable and completely unwelcome is monitoring by "friends".)
I am just sorry that now my Facebook "friends" will have to do without photographic updates of my new hair-do and the likes for awhile ; ) !! I hope they will survive ; ), as I am learning to survive without what had become my 3rd hand, the iPhone 4, and my secret pleasure, my alligator purse purchased for "such a great deal", the wholesale price at the Siem Reap alligator farm a few months ago.
I was impressed with the crowd and its concern for my welfare this early afternoon immediately after the theft. Before even mentioning the need to report the incidence to the police, the first recommendation was "Call ABC radio". And so we did, using the phone of the chief security guard of the Hotel Champs Elysee. ABC Radio is so popular and well-regarded, the go-to when there is a traffic accident to report or theft or another loss to monitor. I first came upon this station when riding with my driver who automatically has this station on. It's a real-time play-by-play broadcasting of thefts and road accidents or other encounters which the public should know about and could assist with information and monitoring. THE effective, informal SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY tool in Cambodia at the moment.
Yesterday, on the same street, near the same location of my theft, a similar crime occurred to a visiting non-Cambodian, who not only lost her phone and purse, but her computer and everything in that computer bag, including her passport. My heart goes out to her. "Everyday, this happens" stressed one of the Hotel Champs Elysee security guards. "Everyday... everyday..." he repeatedly emphasized, in case I missed the point.
I moved to Cambodia permanently in January 2004 with 2 suitcases, having given everything away -- including all my nice autumn/winter attires (think nice suede J-Crew and Banana Republic jackets! and knee length sleek boots). But when I moved apartment 3 years ago, I believe the moving truck made at least 10 trips!!!! JUNK! JUNK! Nice antique "junk" to be sure, but nonetheless, JUNK and at the end of the day, these THINGS rust and rot. I have always considered myself the MOST FREE PERSON in Cambodia, because of my independent voice and carefree mobility not burdened by perception or status, and I literally have no attachment to things -- WHAT? The Kew-Kew! Kew-Kew! is going to come and rip off my rental apartment? I don't own land, I don't own anything of value that is not on my person (my mind!, my heart!). I do not fear to lose anything. Detachment, very Buddhist of me, in one regard (but that's as far, as I believe in DESIRES! Yes, desires! We should not work to extinguish them -- impossible! not practical, from the limited almost 42 years of living on this earth have taught me -- but we need to tame these desires -- the notorious ones anyway, and fuel the passionate ones, like the fight FOR JUSTICE, FOR LOVE, FOR FLOURISHING... these desires have no "moderate", "middle way" quality to them; they're PASSIONATE desires we need to fuel and encourage, not futilely attempt to extinguish.)
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
My desire for SIMPLICITY really manifested itself in college when after every semester for 4 years we had to pack up and store our JUNK somewhere for the long holiday or summer months... and another 3 years of law school of the same rigamarole. Prior, when in high school, I lived the other extreme of consuming for psychological needs rather than real ones. For one semester in my last year of my Juris Doctor, I did an externship in South Africa and while there I fell head-over-heels (is this the phrase?!) in love with a British missionary working with AIDS orphans, living in one of the most violent shantytowns of the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province, a divorce who had given up his US$1-million/year investment banking career in London to live simply in the slums among orphans. I cried through the rest of law school and some more months to get over him, regrets over my emotional immaturity. All to say, SIMPLICITY had been embedded into my DNA. And I thought I could maintain this SIMPLICITY here in Cambodia; I tried but have failed miserably, most of the times legitimate for work reasons. But I HATE CLUTTER. SIMPLICITY is BEAUTY. And BEAUTY is GOOD. How to fight for this simplicity in this global world of MATERIALISM? In this country of SUPERFICIAL status based on MATERIALISM?! Of a country that values form over substance, the synthetic over the genuine? Hhhhmmm...
Let me tell you one recent example of divine equation: I lost my purse/phone/cash, but within the same afternoon, I received a whole new wardrobe from my 2nd cousin Mara who lives in Spain (daughter of my great uncle of Paris whom I just visited a few weeks ago).
My meditation from JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young for Nov. 7 reads (excerpt): "My main work is to clear out debris and clutter, making room for my Spirit to take full possession. Collaborate with Me in this effort by being willing to let go of anything I choose to take away. I know what you need, and have promised to provide all of that -- abundantly! ... Your sense of security must not rest in your possessions or in things going your way. I am training you to depend on Me alone, finding fulfillment in My presence..."
The heart-wrenching image above of the woman reflected again the lack of system, of governance, of leadership, of vision, of governing competence, of compassion among the ruling class of this Kew-Kew! Kew-Kew! ("Kingdom of Extraordinary Wonder" or KEW, oftentimes exclaimed in excited rapid succession as a consequence of the "extraordinariness"!). "Where there is no vision, the people perish," the prophesy of the Biblical prophet echoed through the centuries and resoundingly repeated its warning here in the Kew-Kew! Kew-Kew! Yesterday, upon visiting the police station in my neighborhood of prime real estate of Boeung Keng Kang I and seeing how the office was in complete disarray of completely torn up leather sofas, dirty shelves and floor, rolled-up mattresses, dusty documents, scratched desks and dilapidated chairs etc., it was difficult to take seriously the chief police's assurance to me that he will do all he can to find my stolen purse and items.
I was however impressed with my old landlord (whose son-in-law is the Prime Minister's nephew) who greatly did help by contacting the chief police of his neighborhood where his brother is the elected "sangkhat" councilor.
There is no “youth problem.” There is a neighborhood problem: adults who have forgone their responsibility and capacity to join their neighbors in sharing the wealth of children. It is our greatest challenge and our most hopeful possibility. - Author Philip Yancey on FB post quoting Peter Block (The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods)
Re Cambodia: It is often said that "Cambodia is a land of orphans." I want to take this thought one step further by adding that even those with parents are "orphans" as the parents have abstained from their parental roles as they themselves were never shown or do not know on how to be parents. Thus, we have a population of literal orphans (some at least have greater incentives to seek other parental figures, moi!) and emotional orphans (with parents but receiving no parenting) and psychological orphans (the adult population, themselves lost, lacking role models how to be adults, not to say parents).
The young people are lost, in need of direction, in need of parents who will parent, or adults who are role models. The two young thieves are examples of the larger, pervasive problems of lack of parenting. Immediately, a few voices in the crowd trying to comfort me after the theft independently said: "These are children of the elite, of the wealthy. They need the money for drugs, for prostitutes, for gambling and for gambling debts. See the expensive, new motorbike they ride? It is not poor children who rob, but the rich. The poor, like us, work for our money, for the low salary."
These young men prowl for their preys. They ride around in certain neighborhoods, on certain streets with an intense look-out for individuals like myself who have lost ourselves in the false sense of security due to the familiarity of the surrounding, or visitors who have yet to feel the depth of the brokenness of this land. Every person in Cambodia lives with violence, if not the physical kind, than emotional violence like what I encountered. Just talked with a Cambodian-Canadian friend who a month ago also had his iPhone snatched from his hand near the Independence Monument.
Within the same day (Nov. 6), I received a note from an acquaintance who described how the travel agency had sold him an e-ticket that had already been used. It reminded me of when this happened to me a couple of years or so ago. I arrived at the Singapore Airlines counter at the Phnom Penh Airport only to be told that the e-ticket number had already been used one month ago by someone. I immediately purchased another ticket at the counter to make my meeting in Singapore where my signature as a Trustee was needed on official Jakarta-based HRRC Foundation documents, and informed the Foundation person who purchased my ticket to get the refund from the Cambodian travel where she purchased the ticket. The Cambodian travel agency responded: "Ask Theary to deal with us upon her return." I was adamant in pushing for the direct dealing between the Foundation and the Cambodian travel agency, knowing full well I would have no recourse to the Cambodian court in any legal dispute, and having strong suspicion that the e-ticket sale was no accidental mistake but the recurring malpractice of selling used tickets, as told to me by the airlines people, to individuals who the travel agency personnel deemed "vulnerable" in our ability to claim refunds (critical voices like mine, or foreign visitors who will not have the time or energy to fight the case in the Cambodian legal system).
. . .
Op-Ed by Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy
International Herald Tribune / New York Times
31 Oct. 2012
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"Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Court 'Dying'
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The Washington Post, 13 Sept. 2012
Others said the development highlighted one of the main complaints against the tribunal — that it is too late to truly deliver justice. Pol Pot, the regime’s top lead er, died in 1998.
The tribunal opened in 2006 — nearly three decades after the fall of the Khmer Rouge — following years of wrangling between Cambodia and the United Nations. The lengthy delays have been costly and raised fears that the frail surviving Khmer Rouge leaders will die before their verdicts come. “
Of course if she is seriously ill with Alzheimer’s, she should be released. There is no point in trying an incapacitated person,” said Theary Seng, a human rights advocate representing some victims who are allowed a role in the proceedings. “The point is the (tribunal) is so late in coming. The political foot-dragging and inertia has caused this travesty of justice.”
. . .
and Civil Party Withdrawal
in the News
Ex-leader: Khmer Rouge atrocities are 'fairy tale'
AP Newswire, 23 Nov. 2011
"I'm not surprised that Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary continue to deny their crimes as the charges against them of genocide, war crimes are very serious," said Theary Seng, a Cambodian lawyer and human rights activist who lost family members under their regime.
"Even if I am not surprised, I am however disgusted by their lack of remorse for the suffering they caused. They are delusional in their denial in light of the weight of evidence against them - the mounds of skulls and bones, the horrific testimonies from every survivor of cruelty, the magnitude and scope of evil unleashed by them across the whole of Cambodia."
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"Khmer Rouge trial is failing Cambodian
victims of Pol Pot's regime"
Human Rights Watch Brad Adams' editorial
The Guardian, 26 Nov. 2011
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Douglas Gillison, Foreign Policy Magazine, 23 Nov. 2011
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Deputy President of Victims Association, a Civil Party of the Orphans Class, Mr. CHEY Theara, Withdraws Civil Party Status, Denounces ECCC as Political Farce
Full statement in both Khmer and English in KI-Media.
Here, if ISP censors in Cambodia.
. . . . .
Wall Street Journal, 21 Nov. 2011
“The release of Ieng Thirith is only one reflection of how incredibly late these trials are coming into place,” said Theary Seng, founder of the Cambodian Center for Justice and Reconciliation and herself, too, a victim of the Khmer Rouge regime, having lost her parents and spent five months in prison. She has withdrawn from the tribunal process, and instead put her energy into organizing public games of darts featuring the faces of the Khmer Rouge leaders along Phnom Penh’s riverfront – a “way of release” following victims’ frustrations with the trial process, mixed with “dark humor,” she said.
But the trial - a joint enterprise between the UN and Cambodia - has been heavily criticised. Theary Seng, whose parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge, said putting three people on trial for the deaths of 1.7 million simply wasn't enough. (BBC News, 21 Nov. 2011)
BBC News, 21 Nov. 2011
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AFP, 21 Nov. 2011
Khmer Rouge survivor Theary Seng told AFP she was "frustrated beyond words" that only Khieu Samphan looked likely to shed light on what happened. "The people want to know who is behind the Khmer Rouge, we want to see and understand the larger picture and we're not going to get that," she said.
From Tragedy to Sham in Cambodia
Others have gone further, arguing that the time might be ripe for the UN to pull the plug on the controversy-plagued court altogether. Last week, Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime and a prominent advocate for victims' rights, withdrew her status as a civil party to the court, describing the proceedings as a "complete sham".
She said the UN should threaten to withdraw after setting some clear conditions for its continued participation. By pressing ahead, Seng said, the world body runs the risk of rubber-stamping a flawed process and further embedding cynicism in the Cambodian population.
"I understand the unwieldiness of any large bureaucracy, but at the end of the day it comes down to personalities, and there have been extremely weak personalities," she said. "In this regard, the UN is complicit."
In the End, Loss of Faith in Tribunal: Former Complainant
Hello VOA Special with Theary Seng, 16 Nov. 2011
DPA, 15 Nov. 2011
VOA International/English, 15 Nov. 2011
The Phnom Penh Post, 16 Nov. 2011
Theary Seng Denounces Tribunal; Introduces Dartboard Scheme
The Cambodia Daily, 16 Nov. 2011
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More information at "ECCC Civil Party"
More information at Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia
Theary Seng Criticizes KRT
as "Political Farce"
Radio Free Asia (both AM and PM broadcasts on 10 Nov. 2011)
Cambodian-American Lawyer Withdraws her Civil Party Status
* * * * * *
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