The Swift Rubber Company demolished three homes in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Chum district last week without compensation, telling about 120 families to leave immediately or face the destruction of more houses, according to villagers and rights group Adhoc.
“We lived there for more than 20 years, and we are workers of [Swift’s] rubber plantation,” villager Chhun Socheat said.
“Today, they come to move someone’s house; tomorrow or the next day, it could be my house,” he continued.
Adhoc provincial coordinator Chhay Thy confirmed the uncompensated demolition.
Authorities notified residents of the impending eviction as early as December, and in February they gave families three months to vacate their homes, but villagers were upset that the notices included no mention of compensation.
O’Chum commune chief Khanch Sovy said new residents had no right to compensation, but authorities “will not allow the company to demolish [long-term] residents’ homes without any compensation”.
Pan Kirivuth, a security officer with Swift, said the land was the company’s and that new residents from other provinces “came to live there illegally”.