Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post
Police and security guards detain former Borei Keila residents, including children, during a protest at the Phnom Penh City Hall last week. The protesters were sent to the Prey Speu Correctional Centre.
The 30 Borei Keilia women and children detained last week and sent to Prey Speu Correctional Centre for “vocational training” won’t receive this training because of a budget shortage, officials said yesterday.
The women and children were locked in the correctional centre after a protest in Phnom Penh last Wednesday, the Ministry of Socials Affairs said, for their own protection and for vocational training.
However, according to 39-year-old detainee Chum Nhann, all that the women and children have received from centre officials is food.
Saon Sophal, director of the social affairs department at Phnom Penh municipality, confirmed yesterday that Prey Speu did not have a vocational training program for 2012 because of a budget shortage.
The revelation came as more NGOs yesterday called for the release of the 30 women and children.
Twenty-four NGOs, including some of the 10 that released a statement last week describing Prey Speu as worse than Cambodia’s prisons, have signed a letter urging the government to release the women and children as well as the eight villagers being held at Prey Sar prison who were arrested at Borei Keila on January 3.
“We ask all relevant institutions . . . please intervene to release the eights detainees, who have been in Prey Sar prison since after their forced eviction . . . and we also ask for the release of 24 women and six children,” the statement reads.
The eight Borei Keila villagers in Prey Sar were arrested after violent clashes as authorities demolished more than 200 homes.
Sier Phearum, general secretariat of Housing Rights Task Force, said yesterday that government officials had used tear gas and batons to arrest the eight men.
“We found that government officials and the armed forces used violence against the people to stop the land dispute in Borei Keila,” he said.
Kiet Chhe, deputy chief of administration at the Phnom Penh municipality, declined to comment because he said he was not authorised to speak about the case.
In 2003, development firm Phan Imex agreed to construct 10 buildings on two hectares of land to house 1,776 Borei Keila families, in exchange for development rights to a remaining 2.6 hectares.
The firm has constructed only eight buildings.