East & Southeast Asia :: Cambodia

Introduction ::Cambodia

    Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863, and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, with little of the pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2008 were relatively peaceful, as were commune council elections in June 2012.

Geography ::Cambodia

    Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
    13 00 N, 105 00 E
    total: 181,035 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 90
    land: 176,515 sq km
    water: 4,520 sq km
    slightly smaller than Oklahoma
    total: 2,572 km
    border countries: Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km
    443 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm
    tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation
    mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north
    lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
    highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m
    oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential
    arable land: 22.09%
    permanent crops: 0.86%
    other: 77.05% (2011)
    3,536 sq km (2006)
    476.1 cu km (2011)
    total: 2.18 cu km/yr (4%/2%/94%)
    per capita: 159.8 cu m/yr (2006)
    monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts
    illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap (Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake)

People and Society ::Cambodia

Government ::Cambodia

    conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
    conventional short form: Cambodia
    local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciation)
    local short form: Kampuchea
    former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia
    multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy
    name: Phnom Penh
    geographic coordinates: 11 33 N, 104 55 E
    time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    23 provinces (khett, singular and plural) and 1 municipality (krong, singular and plural)
    provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kampot, Kandal, Kep, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Pursat, Ratanakiri, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Stung Treng, Svay Rieng, Takeo
    municipalities: Phnom Penh (Phnum Penh)
    9 November 1953 (from France)
    Independence Day, 9 November (1953)
    promulgated 21 September 1993
    civil law system (influenced by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia) customary law, Communist legal theory, and common law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: King Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)
    head of government: Prime Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985) [co-prime minister from 1993 to 1997]; Permanent Deputy Prime Minister MEN SAM AN (since 25 September 2008); Deputy Prime Ministers SAR KHENG (since 3 February 1992); SOK AN, TEA BANH, HOR NAMHONG, NHEK BUNCHHAY (since 16 July 2004); BIN CHHIN (since 5 September 2007); KEAT CHHON, YIM CHHAI LY (since 24 September 2008); KE KIMYAN (since 12 March 2009)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the king chosen by a Royal Throne Council from among all eligible males of royal descent; following legislative elections, a member of the majority party or majority coalition named prime minister by the Chairman of the National Assembly and appointed by the king
    bicameral, consists of the Senate (61 seats; 2 members appointed by the monarch, 2 elected by the National Assembly, and 57 elected by parliamentarians and commune councils; members serve five-year terms) and the National Assembly (123 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 4 February 2012 (next to be held in February 2018); National Assembly - last held on 28 July 2013 (next to be held in July 2018)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - CPP 77.8%, CNRP (SRP) 22.2%; seats by party - CPP 46, CNRP (SRP) 11; National Assembly (preliminary results) - percent of vote by party - CPP 49.4%, NRP 44.3%, FUNCINPEC 3.3%, others 3.0%; seats by party - CPP 67, CNRP 56
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (organized into 5- and 9-judge panels and includes a court chief and deputy chief); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
    note - in 1997, the Cambodian Government requested UN assistance in establishing trials to prosecute former Khmer Rouge senior leaders for crimes against humanity committed during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime; the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia were established and began hearings for the first case in 2009
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judge candidates recommended by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, a 9-member body chaired by the monarch and includes other high-level judicial officers; judges of both courts appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of the court renewed every 3 years
    subordinate courts: municipal and provincial courts; appellate courts; military court
    Cambodian People's Party or CPP [CHEA SIM]
    Cambodian National Rescue Party or CNRP [SAM RANGSI also spelled SAM RAINSY]
    National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia or FUNCINPEC [KEV PUT REAKSMEI]
    Nationalist Party or NP former Norodom Ranariddh Party or NRP [SAO RANY]
    note: the CNRP is a merger between the former Human Rights Party or HRP [KHEM SOKHA, also spelled KEM SOKHA] and the Sam Rangsi Party or SRP
    Cambodian Freedom Fighters or CFF
    Partnership for Transparency Fund or PTF (anti-corruption organization)
    Students Movement for Democracy
    The Committee for Free and Fair Elections or Comfrel
    other: human rights organizations; vendors
    chief of mission: Ambassador HENG HEM
    chancery: 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
    telephone: [1] (202) 726-7742
    FAX: [1] (202) 726-8381
    chief of mission: Ambassador William E. TODD
    embassy: #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
    mailing address: Box P, APO AP 96546
    telephone: [855] (23) 728-000
    FAX: [855] (23) 728-600
    three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double width), and blue with a white three-towered temple representing Angkor Wat outlined in black in the center of the red band; red and blue are traditional Cambodian colors
    note: only national flag to incorporate an actual building in its design
    Angkor Wat temple; kouprey (wild ox)
    name: "Nokoreach" (Royal Kingdom)

    lyrics/music: CHUON NAT/F. PERRUCHOT and J. JEKYLL
    note: adopted 1941, restored 1993; the anthem, based on a Cambodian folk tune, was restored after the defeat of the Communist regime

Economy ::Cambodia

    Since 2004, garments, construction, agriculture, and tourism have driven Cambodia's growth. GDP climbed more than 6% per year between 2010 and 2012. The garment industry currently employs more about 400,000 people and accounts for about 70% of Cambodia's total exports. In 2005, exploitable oil deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, representing a potential revenue stream for the government, if commercial extraction becomes feasible. Mining also is attracting some investor interest and the government has touted opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems. The tourism industry has continued to grow rapidly with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year since 2007 and reaching over 3 million visitors in 2012. Cambodia, nevertheless, remains one of the poorest countries in Asia and long-term economic development remains a daunting challenge, inhibited by endemic corruption, limited educational opportunities, high income inequality, and poor job prospects. Approximately 4 million people live on less than $1.25 per day, and 37% of Cambodian children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. More than 50% of the population is less than 25 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure. The Cambodian Government is working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs; more than 50% of the government budget comes from donor assistance. The major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance.
    $37.25 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    $34.99 billion (2011 est.)
    $32.68 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $14.24 billion (2012 est.)
    6.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    7.1% (2011 est.)
    6.1% (2010 est.)
    $2,400 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    $2,300 (2011 est.)
    $2,200 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    12.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    14.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    10.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 74%
    government consumption: 8%
    investment in fixed capital: 20.3%
    investment in inventories: 2.5%
    exports of goods and services: 63.5%
    imports of goods and services: -68.3%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 36%
    industry: 24.3%
    services: 39.7% (2012 est.)
    rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, cassava (manioc), silk
    tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
    9.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    7.9 million (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    agriculture: 55.8%
    industry: 16.9%
    services: 27.3% (2010 est.)
    0% (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    0.3% (2010 est.)
    20% (2012 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3%
    highest 10%: 37.3% (2007)
    37.9 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    41.9 (2004 est.)
    revenues: $2.393 billion
    expenditures: $2.83 billion (2012 est.)
    16.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    -3.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    NA% of GDP
    calendar year
    2.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    5.5% (2011 est.)
    NA% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    5.25% (31 December 2007)
    12.98% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    15.22% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $995.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    $965.8 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.695 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    $5.037 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $4.801 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    $3.115 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    -$1.508 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    -$1.122 billion (2011 est.)
    $5.794 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    $5.22 billion (2011 est.)
    clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear
    US 32.7%, UK 8.4%, Germany 7.7%, Canada 7.7%, Singapore 6.6%, Vietnam 5.8%, Japan 4.7% (2012)
    $7.837 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    $6.71 billion (2011 est.)
    petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products
    Thailand 27.2%, Vietnam 20%, China 19.5%, Singapore 7.1%, Hong Kong 5.9%, South Korea 4.3% (2012)
    $4.938 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    $4.069 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $4.446 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    $4.336 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    riels (KHR) per US dollar -
    4,033 (2012 est.)
    4,058.5 (2011 est.)
    4,184.9 (2010 est.)
    4,139 (2009)
    4,070.94 (2008)

Energy ::Cambodia

Communications ::Cambodia

    530,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    13.757 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    general assessment: adequate fixed-line and/or cellular service in Phnom Penh and other provincial cities; mobile-cellular phone systems are widely used in urban areas to bypass deficiencies in the fixed-line network; mobile-phone coverage is rapidly expanding in rural areas
    domestic: fixed-line connections stand at about 4 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, aided by competition among service providers, is increasing rapidly and stands at 92 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 855; adequate but expensive landline and cellular service available to all countries from Phnom Penh and major provincial cities; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) (2011)
    mixture of state-owned, joint public-private, and privately owned broadcast media; 9 TV broadcast stations with most operating on multiple channels, including 1 state-operated station broadcasting from multiple locations, 6 stations either jointly operated or privately owned with some broadcasting from several locations, and 2 TV relay stations - one relaying a French TV station and the other relaying a Vietnamese TV station; multi-channel cable and satellite systems are available; roughly 50 radio broadcast stations - 1 state-owned broadcaster with multiple stations and a large mixture of public and private broadcasters; several international broadcasters are available (2009)
    13,784 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    78,500 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 167

Transportation ::Cambodia

    16 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    total: 6
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 10
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 7
    under 914 m:
    1 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    total: 690 km
    country comparison to the world: 101
    narrow gauge: 690 km 1.000-m gauge
    note: under restoration (2010)
    total: 39,618 km
    country comparison to the world: 90
    paved: 2,492 km
    unpaved: 37,126 km (2009)
    3,700 km (mainly on Mekong River) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    total: 544
    country comparison to the world: 21
    by type: bulk carrier 38, cargo 459, carrier 7, chemical tanker 4, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 8, refrigerated cargo 11, roll on/roll off 4, vehicle carrier 1
    foreign-owned: 352 (Belgium 1, Canada 2, China 177, Cyprus 4, Egypt 4, Estonia 1, French Polynesia 1, Gabon 1, Greece 2, Hong Kong 10, Indonesia 2, Ireland 1, Japan 1, Lebanon 5, Russia 50, Singapore 3, South Korea 10, Syria 22, Taiwan 1, Turkey 15, UAE 2, UK 1, Ukraine 35, Vietnam 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom)
    river port(s): Phnom Penh (Mekong)

Military ::Cambodia

Transnational Issues ::Cambodia

    Cambodia is concerned about Laos' extensive upstream dam construction; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear Temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a UN World Heritage site; Cambodia accuses Vietnam of a wide variety of illicit cross-border activities; progress on a joint development area with Vietnam is hampered by an unresolved dispute over sovereignty of offshore islands
    current situation: Cambodia is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Cambodian men, women, and children migrate to countries within the region for legitimate work but are subsequently subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, debt bondage, or forced labor; the inability to understand formal obligations, read contracts, or pay processing fees, and inadequate government regulatory oversight renders some Cambodian migrant workers vulnerable to such exploitation; poor Cambodian children are subject to forced labor, including forced begging in Thailand and Vietnam; Cambodian and ethnic Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked from rural areas to urban centers for sexual exploitation; Cambodian men are the main exploiters of child prostitutes, but men from other Asian countries, the US, and Europe travel to Cambodia for child sex tourism
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Cambodia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has prosecuted and convicted fewer trafficking offenders and identified fewer victims than in the previous year; corruption continues to impede anti-trafficking endeavors; authorities systematically refer identified victims to NGO shelters, which provide the majority of services but lack long-term care services, making victims, particularly children, vulnerable to re-trafficking; the government has established a migration working group within its anti-trafficking committee to better address the exploitation of Cambodian workers abroad, but laws governing migrant workers abroad remain weak (2013)
    narcotics-related corruption reportedly involving some in the government, military, and police; limited methamphetamine production; vulnerable to money laundering due to its cash-based economy and porous borders