On June 30 teachers living on the grounds of Phnom Penh's Royal University of Fine
Arts north campus said a representative of Mong Reththy Group delivered the message
that demolition of their homes would begin July 1.
"Even if they kill us, we will not leave. We don't want to live on the road.
It's better to die here," said Tann Sin Thou, chief of New Society Community
and a teacher living on site since 1984.
Mong Reththy, Director General of Mong Reththy Group, confirmed that on July 1 demolition
of the site will begin.
Of the 53 families offered between $3,000 and $4,000 to vacate, 31 have refused and
demand a "fairer" settlement. The government swapped the land in February
in exchange for the rebuilding of a new campus in Russei Keo district. The new campus
will not provide teacher accommodation.
Staff at the university fear the remoteness of the new location will diminish enrollment.
"We are afraid many teachers and students are too poor to travel to the new
site," said a teacher who wished to remain anonymous.