Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CWCI: the New Map Will Create a Loss of Land at the Area 3 around the Preah Vihear Temple

Sources: The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 566 translating from the Samleng Yuvachun Khmer News, Vol.15, #3342, 25.06. 2008

“Mr. Ear Chana released, on behalf of the secretary-general of the Cambodian  Watchdog Council, on 23 June 2008, a statement that there is a loss of land at Area 3 of the Preah Vihear Temple. This is the statement:

Ir Channa, Secretary General of CWC-International
“According to the joint statement of 18 June 2008, signed by the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Sok An, and by Thai Foreign Minister Mr. Noppadon Pattama, and Mrs. Françoise Rivière, UNESCO Deputy Director for Culture, about the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, and a new map that the Cambodian government sent to UNESCO, we found a part of Cambodian territory at the west and the north of the temple (or Area 3) is lost.

Mr. Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister
“The Cambodian government seems to fall into a trap of Thailand by listing only the body of the Preah Vihear Temple and the areas which extend 30 meters from the temple, but do not include the Area 3 which should also have been listed.

“According to our own experience from visits with students from different universities in Phnom Penh in 2001 and 2004, we found that the Cambodian government is creating a loss of land, by agreeing to create a new map, especially as it does not include Area 3 as Cambodian territory. Obviously, based on two visits, we found that the loss of land in Area 3 is an obstacle for tourists to climb up to the Preah Vihear Temple from Cambodia, because the areas at the east and the south are extremely steep to climb up and go down.

(Photo: Reuters) Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Thai Foreign Minister
“According to the Deputy Director of the Cambodian Border Committee, it shows that The Hague International Court of Justice in 1962 used a 1:2000 scale map for the Preah Vihear Temple, and that map is being kept at the court. In addition, the French-Siem [Thai] Treaties in 1904 and 1907 show clearly the land border and sea border between Cambodia and Thailand, especially they show that the Area 3 definitely belongs to Cambodia, which contradicts some Thai positions which say that the border at the Preah Vihear Temple is at the steps to the temples.

“We agree with UNESCO, working to maintain cultural heritage, but we cannot give up the Hague verdict of 1962 about the Preah Vihear Temple and its area, based on the 1904 and 1907 French-Siem Treaties, especially the listing of land in Area 3 – otherwise Cambodia will lose this land to Thailand.

”We found that Thailand never dared to invade territories of Malaysia or Burma, because the governments of both countries are strongly committed to protect their territories. Only the territory of Cambodia has repeatedly been invaded by Thailand.. Moreover, Thailand never dared to protest officially on the international level; it just tries to make trouble for Cambodia. This shows that Thailand intends to invade Khmer territory and to block the Cambodian economic breath of tourism, absorbed by the Preah Vihear Temple.

“We would like to give the recommendation to the Cambodian government, that if the government is still intent to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, being an independent nation with patriotism, the government has to:

Remove the new map and use a map from The Hague for the proposal of the listing of the temple. List the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site unilaterally.

“By the evening of 24 June 2008, the border crossing at the Preah Vihear Temple is still closed, while there are still about 10 Siamese [Thai] demonstrators far from the temple. According to news sources, this closure was ordered by the Khmer Ministry of Interior. This situation might last longer, if there are still demonstrations from Thai nationals. As for the Thai side, it is reported they agree with the closure of the border crossing in front of the Preah Vihear Temple.

“The commercial activities at the temple, both by Khmer and by Thai vendors, are reported to be closed down temporarily. However, generally we found that for the Thai side, both sales and other services lost much more than on the Khmer side. Nevertheless, the Khmer side worries about more than 100 families living on the Preah Vihear mountain who depend on business and on selling things on this mountain. People who are members of the soldiers’ and the police’s families ask for assistance from the authorities and the government. There is still nobody who provides assistance to those people since the closure, besides presents brought by journalists for the forces guarding the Preah Vihear Temple since late last week.

“Local observers find that the statement of Cambodian Watchdog Council is one thing, but what is more important is that the Cambodian Watchdog Council should try to seek additional assistance for the families of the soldiers and of the police who are facing difficulties. However, they noticed that the Cambodian Watchdog Council seems not to pay attention to the difficulties of the temple’s guards. On the contrary, they benefit from the difficulties of the soldiers’ and the police’s families.

“The listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site triggers some reactions from Siamese nationals who are an anti-government group [of Thailand] during these days. However, the listing of the Preah Vihear Temple is expected to face no obstacle, although there are some demonstrations held by a small number of Siamese.”

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