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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Borei Keila families face eviction

Borei Keila families face eviction

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Five young Borei Keila residents play on a log last month. District officials say 24 HIV-affected families in Borei Keila are to be moved more than 20 kilometres to Tuol Sambo today, joining other families with HIV-positive members who were evicted last month.

HIV-affected families to move to Tuol Sambo today, says district official.

TWENTY-four Borei Keila families, all of which have at least one HIV-positive member, are set to be evicted today, a district official told the Post.

"We have got City Hall approval ... and we will help them with transportation," said Sok Ath, the chief of the district's development programme.

These HIV-affected families said they did not live in the green shelters with the HIV community, but were spread throughout Borei Keila.

And unlike the HIV community that was forcibly removed in June, many of these families say they want to be moved to Tuol Sambo, a relocation site more than 20 kilometres away.

"When people don't want to go, they force them, but when they want to go, they delay. I don't really understand the government policy," said Borei Keila resident Sok Srey Paov.

Another resident, Pheak Kdey Neary, said the families want to leave Borei Keila because people have stopped renting apartments to them.

When people don't want to go they force them, but when they want to go, they delay.

According to Sao Vanna, the chief of the HIV community, the 24 families each will receive 100,000 riels (US$24) and some food in addition to 3.5-by-4.8-metre rooms in Tuol Sambo.
But some observers say these families only want to go to Tuol Sambo because they have been left with no other alternatives.

"It is very telling that despite the poor conditions ... some of the people are apparently saying that they actually wish to go there," said Naly Pilorge, director of the rights group Licadho. "This shows how little choice they feel they have, and that they consider anything to be better than ... being thrown in the street with nowhere to go at all."

Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun admitted that the Tuol Sambo relocation site, described by Amnesty International as "grossly inadequate", had problems, but he said the site was improving.

"Now, they have a health centre ... because we have provided a room for the [Centre of] Hope, who have helped the people with their health since they lived in Borei Keila," he said, adding, "We are also thinking about installing a clean water system because right now the water can be used to wash clothes but not to cook."

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