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Borei Keila villagers set to sue

Borei Keila villagers set to sue


Women from Borei Keila who escaped Prey Speu social affairs centre last Wednesday made another impassioned plea for housing and compensation at rights group Licadho’s Phnom Penh headquarters on Friday.

Shane Worrell/Phnom Penh Post
Former Borei Keila resident Ngin Sarith (left), who was evicted from her home earlier this month and then detained at Prey Speu social affairs centre, is comforted at the office of Licadho on Friday.

Armed with copies of a Borei Keila construction agreement from 2004 and in tears, they spoke of their detainment and called on Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian Red Cross for help.

They also announced an intention to file civil and criminal complaints against Phan Imex.

Eighteen women and two children escaped from the centre on Wednesday after being held for a week without charge.

They were detained on January 11 for protesting against the January 3 demolition of more than 200 houses in Borei Keila.

Phan Imex originally agreed to construct 10 buildings to house 1,776 families, in exchange for development rights to 2.6 hectares, but has constructed only eight buildings.

Villagers including Ngin Sa­rith appealed to Prime Minister Hun Sen for a solution and Cambodian Red Cross president Bun Rany for food.

“Please, Hun Sen, give us mo­n­ey because our houses and property were destroyed in the eviction,” she said. “Phan Imex must construct the two buildings for us and release eight villagers from Prey Sar prison.

“Please, Bun Rany, give us food because you are a humanitarian institution.” Neup Ly, community empowerment officer at the Housing Rights Task Force, said the villagers were planning two complaints against Phan Imex.

“One is a criminal case for destruction of property and the other is a civil complaint asking the company to construct two buildings for them.”

Only about 100 families refu­sed compensation offers from Phan Imex, he said. “After the January 3 eviction, about 300 families left. Many were forced to accept land at relocation sites Tuol Sambo or Phnom Bat.”

The Cambodian Red Cross said the Borei Keila dispute did not fall under its umbrella of causes.