Families in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district face a tense morning as they prepare for the familiar sound of authorities moving in to evict them.
Nineteen families in Andong village were told in a letter from district authorities that today was the deadline for them to tear down their homes and make way for a road – without any compensation.
It would be the second time since 2006 the families have been evicted from their homes.
Villager Heng Pheng Chun said the 19 families had begged commune officials yesterday to let them stay.
“We told them we cannot move out because we do not have a place to stay,” he said. “They still told us to move to temporary shelter, but how can we find this shelter just like that?”
Pheng Chun said the authorities failed to understand how difficult it was to move “again and again”.
“We are not sure whether we will be forced out [today]. We hope to meet with the district governor to talk about this.”
Families from the Sambok Chab community, in the capital’s Dangkor district, were evicted in 2006 and sent to Andong village, 25 kilometres away.
The land the 19 families are on was supposed to be a temporary location for them until the authorities provided them with a permanent home.
Vann Sopath, land reform project co-ordinator for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the authorities broke a promise to provide compensation and ownership titles.
“This second eviction of these 19 families without any compensation illustrates not only their terrible luck but also the total absence of consideration by the authorities for human rights, the law or the lives of Khmer citizens,” Sopath said.
Sok Chham, village chief of Andong III, could not be reached for comment yesterday.