Ahead of Cambodia’s “Day of Anger” against Thailand, Thai army chief Anupong Paojinda visited troops stationed along his country’s Cambodian border. Cambodia holds the annual Day of Anger to commemorate the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. Thai press has reported that the government has organized an event with the same name to protest Thailand’s desire to jointly administer the Preah Vihear temple, which was recently listed as a World Heritage site. Though the border area around the temple has seen trade and travel diminish greatly, Paojinda insisted that relations remained strong and that trade and other cross-border affairs would return to normal.
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has voiced its disapproval of legal proceedings against opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua. U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville said, “We believe this highly politicized case appears to show an alarming erosion of both freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary in Cambodia.” Sochua has been found guilty of defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen. Sochua has refused to pay the resulting fine and now faces possible prison time.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard proposed that people seeking asylum in Australia be held in refugee processing center in East Timor. She said, “The purpose would be to ensure that people smugglers have no product to sell. Arriving by boat would just be a ticket back to the regional processing center.” The proposal has been compared to the “Pacific Solution,” the process established by former PM John Howard in which asylum seekers were held in detention centers on several Pacific islands. Many believed the policy was inhumane. However, Jose Luis Guterres, East Timor’s deputy prime minister has said his country is “very unlikely” to accept the idea.
Filipino president Benigno Aquino named law professor Marvic Leonen to lead the government team in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Muslim that has been fighting for a separate Islamic state since the 1970s. Leonon’s appointment signals to many that the government is sympathetic to Filipino Muslim’s demands for self-determination.
The International Crisis Group has released a report on Jama’ah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), led by “the elder statesman of Indonesia’s radical movement,” Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. According to the report, JAT “recruits through mass rallies and smaller religious instruction sessions in which Ba’asyir and other JAT figures fulminate against democracy, advocate full application of Islamic law, and preach a militant interpretation of jihad.”