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Ethnic group petitions UN to halt Areng dam

Ethnic group petitions UN to halt Areng dam

The Areng Chorng ethnic minority group yesterday submitted five petitions – addressed to the UN office in Cambodia and four government institutions – seeking a halt to the Sinohydro dam project in Koh Kong province.

After blocking Sinohydro from entering the dam site in the Areng Valley for four weeks, six representatives of the 600 affected families approached the UN office, the National Assembly, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and the Council for the Development of Cambodia, said Ven Vorn, one of the representatives sent to Phnom Penh.

Today, they plan to submit the same letter to the Chinese embassy and the Council of Ministers, asking for the cancellation of all studies and construction involved with the Areng Valley dam.

According to the petition, the project would lead to the eviction of 600 ethnic families as well as the destruction of 20,000 hectares of forest, and with it the habitat of numerous endangered fauna.

“We do not want the compensation.… What we want is no dam to be built, as the dam will destroy our life, animals, and wild forest,” representative Hing Pov said.

Pov expressed hope yesterday the institutions would take the group’s concerns seriously.

The recipients will investigate to find a solution for the people, government adviser Thoeuk Kroeun Vutha said.