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UPDATE: On 16 September 2011, several families of Boeung Kak Lake were forcefully evicted and now, at least another 90 families might be kicked out of their homes too!
Remember in March 2011, young people in Asia Pacific took action to stop forced evictions in Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, Cambodia? Well – guess what? Homes & businesses were destroyed and families were evicted on 16 September 2011 – and when Suong Sophorn, a land activist in Cambodia, peacefully asked the residents to join hands to stop the destruction of houses, he was beaten by police officials and was left lying unconscious and bleeding.
Right now, there are only 779 out of around 4,000 families still living in the Boeung Kak Lake area. The others have either accepted inadequate compensate or resettled elsewhere after being threatened and intimidated to leave.
Although the Prime Minister authorized 12.44 hectares of land in the development area (scroll down to What’s the story? for more information) for the remaining families but excluded villages that were located outside of the specific area (the homes and businesses that were destroyed on 16 September were outside the specific area)!
Why should YOU(th) take action?
Forced eviction is a serious human rights violation because families are often kicked out of their homes to make way for corporate land and commercial projects and end up living in slums or informal settlements because they were not compensated AND no one should be stopped from peacefully opposing forced evictions.
Got 3 seconds?
Add your name to the letter below and we will mail it to both the Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality and the Deputy Prime Minister of Interior! Copies will also be mailed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Got 3 minutes?
Add your name to the letter AND ask share this link - http://bit.ly/hmeptI – with at least 5 friends and ask them to take action too!
Still want to do more?
Stand in solidarity with affected communities of forced evictions in Cambodia & China by completing this sentence with ONE word: A home is…
|Your Excellency,I am writing to express my concern for the recent forced evictions that took place in Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh.I am also concerned about Suong Sophorn, who was beaten very badly by police officials when he asked residents to join hands to peacefully stop the destruction of more houses.Therefore, I am writing to ask you to:
Thank you for your attention.
What’s the story?
According to the Municipality of Phnom Penh, the 133 hectares leased to a private company are to be turned into “pleasant, trade, and service places for domestic and international tourists”, but beyond that few details have been disclosed. The agreement between the company and municipality was reached without any consultation with the affected population. In early 2008 representatives of the people affected told Amnesty International that they had learnt about the agreement and the plans through the television news.
Since filling of the lake began, police and company workers have threatened and harassed the residents, and attempted to prevent them from holding meetings and from peacefully protesting against the forced eviction. In October 2010, police used unnecessary force, including electric batons, to break up a peaceful protest by Boeung Kak Lake villagers during the visit of the UN Secretary-General. One resident, Suong Sophorn, was beaten unconscious and detained by police until the departure of the Secretary-General. He had previously been arrested and fined in 2009 for painting “Stop Eviction” on his house.
The forced eviction of residents living around Boeung Kak Lake is under further scrutiny because of a case brought to the World Bank by the community and three NGOs. This case alleges that the residents were denied the opportunity to register their claims to land ownership under the World Bank administered Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP) which was designed to provide land titles throughout Cambodia.
Thousands of people around Cambodia are adversely affected by forced evictions, land grabs and land disputes, some in connection with economic land concessions granted to powerful companies and individuals. Increasing numbers of communities and individuals are protesting and petitioning the authorities in defense of their right to housing.
Cambodia is a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR) and other international human rights treaties which prohibit forced eviction and related human rights violations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR). The government therefore has an obligation to stop forced evictions and to protect the population from forced evictions.