Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Governor abandons homeless sweep

Governor abandons homeless sweep

Governor abandons homeless sweep

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara has admitted it was a "bad idea" to remove

homeless people from the city's streets before November's ASEAN meeting and said

he would no longer go ahead with the plan.

"I have changed my idea quickly because I launched and tested it, and it got

a bad reaction," Sophara said. "We will not send homeless people back to

the provinces. I want long-term solutions instead."

His latest answer to the problem of homelessness is the creation of a "My Chance"

center for street children and drug abusers at a three hectare site purchased near

the Anlong Kngann relocation site north of the city.

Thirty thousand dollars has been raised to build the center, including several large

donations from local businessmen. Sophara said the design was complete and building

could begin as early as next week. However the center was unlikely to be finished

before the ASEAN meeting.

The center will have space for 500 street children and drug abusers to live, and

they will also receive education, food and skills training.

"It will have a judo club and be open for everyone to enjoy," Sophara said,

adding the children would not be forced to go there. "We don't want to make

a high wall and restrict their freedom."

The municipality's new collaborative approach involves working with NGOs and the

UN to find a solution to the problem of street children. Sophara said he would ask

NGO Mith Samlanh/Friends to run the 'My Chance' center.

Mith Samlanh/Friends and the municipality's Phnom Penh Urban Poverty Reduction Project

will hold a workshop on helping street children to 'come off the streets' September

3 at the municipal hall. The governor, representatives from several ministries, NGOs,

donors and UN agencies will attend.

Sébastien Marot, coordinator at Mith Samlanh/Friends, said the objective of

the meeting was to explain to the municipality the variety of factors that drive

people onto the streets.

"I hope everyone realizes we have the same objective and need to work together,"

he said.

Marot said that despite the public outcry over the governor's plan to sweep homeless

people off the city's streets, local authorities were continuing to collect street

children.

"I do hope for a stop to the current policies that are not very constructive,"

he said.

Peter Swan, advisor at UN Habitat, helped arrange the workshop. He said it was an

important chance to find mutually acceptable solutions for all parties, starting

with street children themselves. "There is a great need to review the municipality's

ideas to ensure they are viable and in accordance with international conventions

on children's rights," Swan said.

MOST VIEWED

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from

  • Conflict lingers on Paris Accords

    As the Kingdom prepares to commemorate on October 23 the 27th anniversary of the signing of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which ushered in an end to nearly two decades of civil war, there is political conflict on whether the tenets of the agreement are still being

  • EU agrees VN trade deal despite rights concerns

    The EU on Wednesday agreed to a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, a country described as having a “major rights-abusing government”. This comes amid the 28-nation bloc preparing the procedure for a possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential trade agreement on