Pledges Hit $601 Million at CG

International donors closed Fri­day’s Consultative Group meeting with pledges to give Cambodia $601 million in 2006, up from the $504 million pledged by the same group in December 2004.

“The request was for $513 million but the pledges amount to $601 million,” CG co-chairman Fi­nance Min­ister Keat Chhon said. “Do­nors have praised the achievements un­der Prime Minster Hun Sen.”

Among those who pledged, the UN gave $58 million, World Bank $53 million, the US $60 million up from $44 million, the EU $164 million and Australia $18.6 million.

World Bank Country Director Ian Porter said the overall increase re­­­flected a sense that Cambodia had made greater progress in re­forms since the last CG meeting than in previous CG accounting per­iods.

On Thursday Amnesty Interna­tion­al issued a public call on CG donors to press the government to “fully com­ply with their human rights ob­ligations.”

“We had no discussions about human rights that you are raising, but we have discussed about poverty reduction, the health conditions of the people, which are human rights,” Keat Chhon said.

“The CG meeting is a forum in which the primary focus is on economic and social development,” Por­ter added. “In [a] broader context the meeting welcomed the re­lease of human rights activists from prison and the statements about de­criminalizing defamation.” Porter said that during the discussion, a benchmark on the disclosure of min­ing concessions and military development zones was added for 2006.

Responding to allegations made by villagers and the rights group Adhoc this week, Keat Chhon said he did not know whether his sister Keat Kolney has been involved in an alleged illegal purchase of 500 hec­tares of minority land in Ratan­ak­kiri in 2004.

“I am not involved, I don’t know about that case, I do not know what my sister has done,” he said. “There is a draft royal decree setting up the Land Dispute Com­mis­sion…it will decide whether or not to investigate. It is not up to me to decide.”

“The media should be careful not to violate the rights of others,” he added.





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