Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Regret’ over forced evictions

‘Regret’ over forced evictions

‘Regret’ over forced evictions

A senior government official yesterday expressed “regret” over the forced eviction and relocation of thousands of Phnom Penh residents in recent years, attributing problems to a lack of awareness in resolving government policy.

Speaking at a workshop in Phnom Penh yesterday, Im Chhun Lim, the Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, said that though the removal and relocation of residents’ homes was commonplace in developing countries, it was important that the government takes action based on the proper policies.

He said much confusion stemmed from residents who are living illegally on state land, but who claim ownership and market-price compensation for their properties.

“It is regrettable that [we] were not previously sufficiently aware of how to resolve issues such as the confusion between resettlement based on humanitarian policies and the resettlement based on market price compensation or unreasonably high compensation demands that could not be accommodated,” he said.

Im Chhun Lim added that some relocation cases were complicated by the involvement of politicians, which delayed compensation negotiations or caused standoffs between residents and the authorities. Often, the disputes did not end until the government took “administrative measures”, forcibly removing residents from disputed land.

He stressed that the government wanted to avoid these problems at all costs, and would implement a “humanitarian” policy related to urban evictions and relocations.

Rights groups claim that thousands of families have been illegally evicted from valuable land in the centre of Phnom Penh and relocated to sites of the outskirts that often lack all but the most basic amenities.

Sia Phearum, secretariat director of the Housing Rights Task Force, said that from 1990 to 2010, 130,000 Phnom Penh residents – nearly one in 10 of the city’s residents – have been the victims of urban land grabs.

“The evacuation of people from the capital to the suburbs affects their standard of living. This forces them to lock their homes [in the suburbs] and come back to the capital to look for jobs to support themselves,” Sia Phearum said.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor of local rights group Licadho, said the evacuation of residents from the city to ill-equipped relocation sites on the outskirts seriously affected such communities.

“The regret [expressed by Im Chhun Lim] is justified, but the victims are citizens. The authorities should have thought about the welfare of people first before simply evacuating them,” he said.


  • Professor beaten by mob in Phnom Penh after alleged hit-and-run

    Updated with new information: 6:44am, Tuesday March 13 2018 A university professor accused of a hit-and-run has been transported to Vietnam with serious head injuries after he was brutally beaten by a mob in Phnom Penh late Sunday afternoon. A video of the attack shows a group

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of