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

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police