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City to put best face forward for ASEAN

The Phnom Penh Municipal Government announced a series of beautification mandates on Monday designed to improve the city’s appearance ahead of Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship next year.

In a notification targeted specifically to residents living near main thoroughfares and popular markets, the city government urged citizens to “put the national flag and flower in front of each house” and to “avoid throwing garbage on the streets or drying clothes on clotheslines near the street”, threatening legal action “against anyone causing problems”.

The streets identified in the Monday announcement include Russian Federation Blvd, Monivong Boulevard, Norodom Boulevard, Kampuchea Krom, Mao Tse Toung Boulevard, Sisowath Quay and Sihanouk Boulevard, and the markets include Central Market, Russian Market and Pochentong Market, all places where it is assumed ASEAN delegations will pass by.

The notification also cautioned residents to avoid the appearance of disorder, such as “selling or showing goods in front of houses or on roads”. When asked to elaborate on whether this included street vendors or street-children peddling goods, On Neang, city hall’s deputy director of administration, declined to comment.

In 2008, when Cambodia played host to ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meetings, the government was criticised for the forced relocation and detention of more than 50 street people to the Prey Speu facility, which rights workers alleged was part of a citywide beautification campaign.

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