Local housing rights group claims 120,000 affected since 1990
AT least one in 10 Phnom Penh residents has been displaced or evicted from their home since private land ownership was reinstated two decades ago, a local housing rights advocacy group said Wednesday.
In a report issued Wednesday, Sahmakum Teang Tnaut estimates that 23,831 families - totalling around 120,000 people, or 10 percent of the city's population - have been the victims of land evictions since 1990.
The report also claims the figures, which were gathered from government and NGO sources in addition to the group's own studies, violated articles of the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Cambodia is a signatory.
According to the report, 2001 was the most active year for land evictions, witnessing the removal of 6,358 families, followed by 2006, which saw large-scale evictions from the Dey Krahorm and Sambok Chab communities.
Sahmakum Teang Tnaut adviser Hallam Goad said the total was reached by counting households that were evicted and then multiplying by five - an estimate of the average number of members in each family.
But he said the report was still a work in progress and that the figures quoted were conservative. "No one has a complete list of all the evictions, and I'm sure there are a number of cases we have missed out on," he said Wednesday, adding that the figures also omit besieged urban communities currently facing eviction threats.
"The only direction these numbers are likely to go is up," he said.