Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh's homeless are swept away

Phnom Penh's homeless are swept away

Phnom Penh's homeless are swept away

6-Paper_Post.jpg
6-Paper_Post.jpg

PHNOM Penh Governor Chea Sophara has announced he will "rescue poor people" by removing all homeless families, drug addicts and street children from the city's streets before the ASEAN summit in early November. The decision has angered professionals whose work involves street children, urbanization and human rights.

"I will force all homeless to leave the streets - we have already started doing this and will take more action," Sophara told the Post. "I want to clean up the city and beautify it before the ASEAN summit

"We want to solve this problem by sending them to their original provinces with transport and food," he said.

Sophara said the municipality had already started rounding up street children and would continue to do so "because they have no meaning there - they need to go to school".

The street children would be sent to schools, orphanages, or the Choam Chao youth rehabilitation center near Pochentong Airport.

At a meeting on July 22 the governor asked the city's department of social affairs to prepare a list of children who were not attending school so they could be sent to classes in time for the new academic year.

Deputy director of the department, Suon Chhoeung, said his staff had begin surveying the number and education levels of street children, but had not started removing them as per the directive.

Sebastien Marot, coordinator at street children's NGO Mith Samlanh/Friends, said around 1,200 children lived alone on the streets. He said the directive was ruining his organization's work.

"Since Sophara's declaration last week, the [municipal] police have started following our teams who were working with the kids on the streets. As soon as the teams left, they arrested all the kids," Marot said. "This is totally destroying the work we are trying to establish with the kids for a long-term solution."

Friends' Marot said street children had been forcibly relocated to the provinces since March.

The municipality's Chhoeung confirmed that relocations had been taking place for some time.

"We send them to the provinces," he said. "On July 3 we sent 200 people."

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old