Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boeung Kak activists petition World Bank, EU

Boeung Kak activists petition World Bank, EU

Boeung Kak lake activists hold placards outside the European Union Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday during a protest calling for the release of Tep Vanny.
Boeung Kak lake activists hold placards outside the European Union Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday during a protest calling for the release of Tep Vanny. Pha Lina

Boeung Kak activists petition World Bank, EU

Close to 20 Boeung Kak lake activists petitioned the European Union and World Bank yesterday asking for their intervention on behalf of jailed fellow activist Tep Vanny and a swift resolution to their land dispute.

Vanny is facing trial later this month for obstructing public officials at a 2011 protest outside City Hall and is under investigation for a 2013 protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house demanding the release of Boeung Kak activist Yorm Bopha.

Aside from Vanny, the petition asks the World Bank to address the group’s long-standing land dispute. The bank has previously been at the centre of a firestorm for its funding of a land-titling program prior to residents’ forcible eviction.

“Boeung Kak villagers request the EU and World Bank to intervene for Tep Vanny’s release – she was detained unjustly,” the petition reads. “Also, take action for the rest of the villagers who have not yet got a resolution or land titles from the Phnom Penh governor.”

Since 2013, while hundreds of villagers have been granted land titles an estimated 40 families are either awaiting titles or compensation for land lost.

Land activist Bov Sophea said the EU is a major donor to Cambodia, and as a “human rights monitor” the villagers were asking for the institution’s help.

While speaking to the media outside the World Bank, the villagers had a small skirmish with Daun Penh security guards, who did not want them talking to the press near the bank’s front gate.

The petition was received by staffers at both institutions, with a World Bank spokesman only confirming receipt of the document. The EU’s ambassador to Cambodia, George Edgar, said he was still considering what action to take in this case.

“In this case as in other cases, we look to the Cambodian court system to act transparently and fairly, in line with Cambodia’s domestic and international commitments,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the