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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lakeside residents urge World Bank to hold loans

Activists from Boeung Kak Lake hold signs during a protest in Phnom Penh
Activists from Boeung Kak Lake hold signs during a protest in Phnom Penh yesterday, calling for the World Bank to reconsider a potential loan of $25 million for the development of land concessions. Charlotte Pert

Lakeside residents urge World Bank to hold loans

Villagers displaced by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin’s development project at Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak Lake have called on the World Bank not to issue new loans until they have been offered adequate compensation.

The villagers marched to the office of the World Bank after hearing that the institution was considering loaning $25 million to fund the development of 15 social land concessions across the country.

Forty families say that they had not received compensation or a “just resolution” in their dispute, after being forcibly relocated under a World Bank-supported scheme to develop the lake area.

“We want to see the bank take responsibility for the victims in the Boeung Kak community,” community representative Duong Chhert, 54, told the Post.

Another villager, Phan Chhunret, said she was concerned that the new loans would not include conditions linked to a resolution of the Boeung Kak dispute.

“We are very concerned if this bank agrees to offer the new loans to the Cambodian government without any clear conditions that urge them to finish our land dispute in the Boeung Kak area,” she said.

Spokesman Bou Saroeun said the bank had not issued any new loans since a freeze took effect in December 2010 in response to the forced eviction of Boeung Kak residents.

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