A group of Boeung Chhouk village residents being asked to vacate to make room for a new road met yesterday with a senior Council of Ministers official in a bid to resolve the long-running dispute. However, they walked away with nothing but the possibility of another meeting.
During the sit-down with Senior Minister Khun Hang, 12 representatives of the community, where four homes have already been destroyed, once again asked the government for land titles and on-site development.
“We have lived here since 1997 and our presence does not affect land belonging to others or the land’s development, so we ask for land titles,” said Khiev Chenda, one of the villagers representing the 46 involved families.
Another representative, Pin Kea, said that while the meeting was inconclusive, Hang promised to forward the people’s request to speak at Friday’s meeting of the National Committee for Land Dispute Resolution.
Housing Rights Task Force director Sia Phearum called on the government to give residents titles as a way of building trust and reducing poverty within the community.
The government first served eviction notices to 30 families in March 2009, claiming they were squatting on state property; the villagers refused to leave.
In December 2014, 50 families were forced from their homes when a fire ripped through the neighbourhood just weeks after the district governor ordered them to make way for planned road construction.