Your blithe banning of myself, a fellow filmmaker, from making development applications to Screen Australia, on the basis of what you know to be a lie, has not prevented me from continuing to work on CHANTI'S WORLD. This letter, to Foreign Minister Bob Carr, speaks for itself of where I am at with this project - a DVD of the promo of which you and your fellow board members have decreed would place members of Screen Australia's staff at risk were they to view it:
Senator, the Hon Bob Carr
R.G. Casey Building
John McEwan Crescent
ACT 0221 Australia
11th March 2013
Dear Senator Carr
This letter concerns a poor Cambodian family whose two eldest daughters were 'stolen' by an Australian-run NGO in Phnom Penh close to five years ago. The NGO, Citipointe church, based in Brisbane, refuses to return the girls - Rosa, aged 11 and Chita, aged 10 - to their family's care, in contravention of UNICEF'S 'Convention on the Rights of the Child') and despite multiple requests by the parents (Yem Chanthy and Both Chhork) that the church do so.
I have attempted, without success, to raise this matter with Australia's Ambassador to Cambodia, Penny Richards, in five letters - hand delivered by myself to the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh, on 20th, 22nd, 26th, 28th Feb and 4th March. Ambassador Richards has not acknowledged receipt of any of my letters. It is for this reason that I am writing to you - on the hope that, as Foreign Minister, you will either be able to provide me with answers to my questions and those of Yem Chanthy (whom I know as Chanti) or inform me that the illegal removal of Chanti's children from their family in 2008 by an Australian-based NGO is not a matter in which the Department of Foreign Affairs can intervene or take an interest.
The first of my letters to Ambassador Richards can be found at:
My subsequent letters to Ms Richards can also be found on my blog, along with my letters to various other parties whom I believe should have an interest in the right of Rosa and Chita (to quote the Convention on the Rights of the Child) "to participate fully in family, cultural and social life."
On my blog can also be found my response to Citipointe's Pastor Mulheran's not-so-thinly veiled threats to have me 'forcibly removed', arrested, jailed and banned from coming to Cambodia. Having filmed the illegal removal of the community living adjacent to the (then) new Australian Embassy I have had some first had experience of what 'forcible' means in a Cambodian context Forcible removals of Cambodians from their homes and land is an almost daily occurrence in Cambodia. That Pastor Mulheran believes that he can pick up the phone and request of the relevant Cambodian Government Minister that I be 'forcibly removed' and put in jail speaks volumes of Citipointe's modus operandi and the way in which the concept of 'civil society' manifests itself in Cambodia. The rich and powerful of all nationalities can break the law with impunity in Cambodia.
My several attempts to raise the matter of the illegal removal of Yem Chanthy's daughters with the previous Australian Ambassador to Cambodia (along with the impending illegal removal of the Australian Embassy's neighbours) were ignored. When I refused to accept silence as an appropriate response, my subsequent letters and emails were responded to by DFAT spin doctors who answered none of my questions but merely directed me to the DFAT website. I made a video of this illegal eviction - carried out in the total absence of even the mildest protest from the Australian Embassy until five hours before the eviction itself. My video (Losing Ground - Group 78 Eviction - Part 1) can be found at: