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Robert Carmichael

Balatonfenyves, Hungary
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About Robert
South African journalist, currently in Hungary. Recently left Cambodia after a decade spent there reporting for TV, radio, print and wire services in the US, UK, Germany and Australia.

In 2015, my acclaimed book on the causes and consequences of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge rule (1975-79) was published. The book's title is "When Clouds Fell from the Sky: A Disappearance, A Daughter's Search and Cambodia's First War Criminal".
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Business Finance Politics

Interest Cap Poses Body Blow for Cambodian Microfinance

10 Mar 2017  |  voanews.com
The Cambodian government has mandated a cap on interest rates for microfinance loans at 18 percent annually, starting April 1, ahead of local elections. This decision has surprised the microfinance industry, which may struggle to offer small loans due to the cap, potentially leading to a downturn in rural communities. The Cambodia Microfinance Association is considering cost-cutting measures and efficiency improvements, while the central bank may reduce fees for MFIs. The cap aims to prevent rural smallholders from incurring high-interest debt, with the long-term goal of financial system sustainability. The impact on the microfinance industry and rural borrowers' access to credit remains uncertain.

Cambodia mental health service: underfunded, overwhelmed

13 Apr 2016  |  ucanews.com
Cambodia's mental health services are critically underfunded and overwhelmed, with rural areas particularly lacking in resources. Families often resort to monks, meditation, or unreliable herbal remedies due to the scarcity of professional help. The Khmer-Soviet Hospital in Phnom Penh is one of the few facilities providing psychiatric care, but it is understaffed and sometimes runs out of medicines. The World Health Organization has described the situation as 'critically neglected,' and experts argue that patients need proper assessment and medication, not just meditation. Despite a near doubling of the Health Ministry's budget, mental health services receive less than one percent of it. Initiatives like TPO-Cambodia's training for village health support groups and the Ministry's training for doctors in basic mental health skills are steps forward, but the need far exceeds the available resources. The article also highlights the historical context of Cambodia's mental health crisis, rooted in the traumas of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Feature for IRIN on the opening of hearings into the crime of genocide at the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

CNRP Leader Accuses Hun Sen of Constitutional Coup

18 Nov 2015  |  voanews.com
Cambodia's opposition leader Sam Rainsy accuses the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of a constitutional coup after a court issued an arrest warrant for him and he was stripped of his parliamentary seat. Rainsy postponed his return to Cambodia from overseas trips due to these developments. Political analyst Ou Virak notes the CPP's return to tactics used before previous elections, involving legal charges to harass the opposition. The opposition CNRP nearly won the 2013 general election, and the CPP's attempts at reform have been difficult, leading to a resort to 'old dirty tactics.' The UN Secretary-General's spokesman expressed concern over the arrest warrant and attacks on opposition MPs, calling for resumed talks. The political climate has been tough for the opposition, with 15 activists jailed and a senator awaiting trial on politically motivated charges. Rainsy's arrest warrant stems from a 2011 defamation conviction related to accusations against Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, which was believed to have been quashed by a royal pardon before the 2013 election.

Cambodian Politics Turning Violent

29 Oct 2015  |  voanews.com
In Cambodia, tensions between the ruling party and the opposition escalated with two opposition legislators being beaten by a mob suspected of supporting the ruling party. This violence follows Prime Minister Hun Sen's warnings of civil war if his party loses the 2018 election. The attack occurred after a protest demanding the resignation of opposition vice-president Kem Sokha. Hun Sen condemned the attack and denied ruling party involvement, but skepticism remains about the impartiality of the investigation. Political analyst Ou Virak expressed doubt about the investigation's thoroughness and noted a second incident where protesters attacked Kem Sokha's home. The armed forces also demonstrated against Sokha, with government backing. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy criticized the violence as fascist tactics by Hun Sen to maintain power. Analysts are surprised by the early onset of intimidation tactics, anticipating that the ruling party may continue using the courts and physical harassment against the opposition.

Big Ambitions for Model School Program in Cambodia

05 Oct 2015  |  voanews.com
The Liger Learning Center in Cambodia is conducting an educational experiment aimed at developing a sustainable model that can be replicated internationally. The center, founded by U.S. businessman Trevor Gile and his wife, selects promising students from poor families and provides them with scholarships for full board and tuition. The school focuses on project-based and experiential learning, equipping students with laptops and opportunities such as writing books on Cambodia's wildlife and economy, and participating in international competitions. Gile envisions the expansion of the Liger model to at least 10 schools by 2025, with the current students expected to use their skills to contribute to Cambodia's progress.

Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

04 Aug 2015  |  www.voanews.com
Cambodia is advancing in its conservation efforts, effectively protecting bears and setting a regional example despite the challenges posed by deforestation and the demand for traditional medicine in China.

Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

04 Aug 2015  |  voanews.com
Cambodia is advancing in its conservation efforts, effectively protecting bears and setting a regional example despite the challenges posed by deforestation and the demand for traditional medicine in China.

Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

23 Jun 2015  |  www.voanews.com
A United Nations report found that 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working, which is one of the highest rates in the region. Additionally, 25 percent of children in that age group are forced to leave school to assist their families. Despite a decline in child labor rates over the past decade, Cambodia faces challenges in reducing child labor further and ensuring more children remain in school.

Cambodia’s Circus School: Vaulting Young Performers to a Better Life

14 May 2015  |  www.voanews.com
In Cambodia, a circus school is providing underprivileged children with an opportunity to learn a wide range of skills that can significantly improve their lives. Voice of America reporters Robert Carmichael and Dan de Carteret share insights from a graduate of this program, highlighting its impact on young dreamers in the country.

Cambodia Inaugurates Memorial for Genocide Victims

26 Mar 2015  |  www.robertcarmichael.net
A memorial stupa was unveiled at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh to honor the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. The museum, once a school turned into a prison, is where thousands were tortured and executed between 1975 and 1979. The event was attended by government officials, donors, U.N. court staff, victims' family members, and two survivors. The stupa will have the names of over 12,000 victims inscribed on it, which has sparked controversy. Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, argues that the memorial mixes the names of victims with perpetrators, as many executed were Khmer Rouge members. Germany's ambassador to Cambodia, Joachim von Marschall, acknowledges the controversy but believes it's difficult to distinguish between victims and perpetrators in such cases. The memorial aims to ensure the atrocities are not forgotten.

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