Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh homeless in decline: govt

Phnom Penh homeless in decline: govt

Phnom Penh homeless in decline: govt

THE number of people living on the streets of Phnom Penh dropped sharply in 2009, according to a government report released Tuesday, though NGOs that provide services to the homeless said the figures appeared to be a low estimate.

The report, prepared by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, cites a 44-percent decrease in the number of homeless people in the capital – from 4,189 to 2,337.

Speaking at a conference at which the findings were unveiled, Son Sophal, director of the Department of Social Affairs, said the numbers reflected the fact that NGOs and the government had been paying more attention to the homeless.

“The number is down because the government supported homeless people by donating money and urging children to go to school, and also because of the work of some NGOs,” he said.

“But street people are still a concern for society, because they affect social order and tourism, especially the street children who do not go to school.”

The government came under fire from rights groups on several occasions last year for sweeping up homeless people – along with sex workers and drug users – and sending them to centres run by the Social Affairs Department in advance of holidays and other events, notably an EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting held in May.

David Harding, international coordinator for training programmes at the NGO Mith Samlanh, said he believed the number of homeless people was likely on the decline, but that the government figures were far too low.

“We’re estimating, based on figures in the last five years by UNICEF, that there are 20,000 to 24,000 street children alone in Phnom Penh, and this is considered to be the general rule of thumb,” he said.

“But in support of the ministry’s report, we are seeing a reduction in the number of street children. That is the trend.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAVID BOYLE

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh