Almost three years to the day after they were forcibly evicted from their homes, 40 members of the Borei Keila community yesterday morning gathered in front of City Hall and urged authorities to find them adequate housing.
Dozens of families remain in squalid living conditions – including some next to piles of garbage in the compound from which they were displaced – and desperately need to be re-housed, said community representative Chum Ngan, 42.
“We need appropriate houses to live in because we have lived on the trash, we have lived under wind and rain,” she said, adding that protesters’ demands were delivered in a petition to city officials yesterday.
Residents of Borei Keila were evicted from their homes on January 3, 2012, by government armed forces and security guards working for construction giant Phan Imex company.
In 2003, the company was licensed to develop the area in exchange for constructing 10 buildings to house nearly 1,400 displaced families. Only eight were ever built.
Many evictees have been relocated outside of the city, but others remain on the site.
Sia Phirum, director of NGO Housing Rights Task Force, said that “if authorities were committed to finding a solution, it would be solved soon.”
But, he said, City Hall’s refusal to allow current Borei Keila community representatives to participate in a commision aimed at finding solutions showed a lack of committment.
City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said yesterday that a meeting with evicted residents, to assess their eligibility for new housing, would soon be held.
“We and the company do care about giving houses at Borei Keila to those who are qualified,” he said, referring to those who can show housing documents and family books.
“But for unqualified families, City Hall will not [provide housing in the area]. They will get land somewhere else.”