Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Displaced villagers lose right to vote

Displaced villagers lose right to vote

Many residents of an impoverished Phnom Penh community, displaced from their homes in 2006 and resettled in the village of Andong, still have no right to vote in their new commune, highlighting the impact that mass evictions have had on Cambodia’s electorate.

The Sambok Chap, or “Bird’s Nest,” community was pushed out of Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district in mid-2006 and thousands found themselves in legal limbo, with no right to vote in the commune elections of 2007.

They again look to miss out on casting their ballots when Cambodia goes to the polls on July 27.

“Seventy percent of the 1,554 families in Andong village have lost the opportunity to vote due to not having identity cards or household registration books,” Am Sam Ath, senior monitor for the human rights group Licadho, said on July 23. “Most of them lost their documents in the forced eviction in 2006.”

For others, the expense of traveling to their former homes is enough to keep them from voting.

“It’s really hard for us to get to the polling station in Tonle Bassac.... It’s very far away and the travel is quite expensive. It costs 5,000 riels each way to get there, and my husband only earns 10,000 riels a day working in Phnom Penh,” said Chan Tha.

“I tried to ask the commune authority to make a new name card for me so I could vote, but because I have no documents or identity papers he said no. I personally think I won’t be able to go to vote because of the cost. We don’t have enough rice to eat anyway.”

National Election Committee head Tep Nytha said the NEC and local authorities helped re-register Andong residents back in 2007.

“We have issued Form 1018 for them if they lost their ID cards or household registration books,” Tep Nytha said. “We have already intervened there.”

But many were lost in the bureaucracy of obtaining the proper forms and documents, said Am Sam Ath.

 “People lost rights to vote and select the party they want to lead the next government,” Am Sam Ath said. By ignoring these people, he said, the local authorities “showed disrespect for democracy.”

“It’s like they’ve just thrown us into a rubbish bin,” said Andong villager Dou Sophal.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Explore the durian and rubber farms of Kampong Cham

Take a drive north of Kampong Cham, past the dirt roads and the dense greenery.

Kem Sokha talks politics, power and Hun Sen

Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, sat down with The Post’s Alex Willemyns and Mech Dara to discuss his supporters’ initial disappointment with this year’s

NEC officials tally votes during a recount last week in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia’s National Election Committee last week rejected 33 of 61 complaints filed over the conduct of June 4’s commune election, according to a s

People search for their names on the voter lists at a polling station in Kampong Cham’s Veal Vong commune earlier this month.

Four years ago, when the opposition snatched Kampong Cham away from the ruling party in 2013 national elections, it hinted at a deeper shift taking