Housing rights group released report calling lake lease agreement illegal, says development does not justify evictions
A protestor demonstrates against evictions from Boeung Kak lake in this file photo.
THE municipality has called a report that condemns the development of Boeung Kak "one-sided", saying that its authors have made no attempt consult with the government over the lake's privatisation, which will result in the eviction of thousands of people.
The report, "Legal Analysis of the Boeung Kak Lake Case", was prepared by the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions and determined that the lease agreement between Phnom Penh and the developer Shukaku Inc is illegal.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said he was never given a copy of the report.
"The group should send us a copy and ask for a discussion," he said Wednesday. "They studied this alone according to their own feelings and it is one-sided."
The lake, which is under a 99-year lease to Shukaku, is currently being filled in by the company in preparation for development that will eventually displace some 4,000 families.
Those set to lose their homes argue that they are not being fairly compensated. Rights groups, meanwhile, say the evictions are symptomatic of a general disregard for property rights.
"Evictions in Cambodia fail to respect the law. The government has failed to ensure access to adequate housing," said the Center for Housing Rights' legal officer Natalie Bugalski. "Access to alternative livelihoods and compensation and relocation offers have been generally insufficient," she added.
Bugalski said her organisation would consider meeting with municipal officials at a later date.
Lawyers for lake residents contend that the evictions violate the Constitution and highlight the power the government has over the judiciary.