Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Students blocked from dam

Students blocked from dam

Officials stop students from entering areas affected by the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam on Saturday in Stung Treng province.
Officials stop students from entering areas affected by the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam on Saturday in Stung Treng province. Photo supplied

Students blocked from dam

More than 30 university students from Phnom Penh were blocked by police on Saturday from visiting communities affected by the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam project in Stung Treng.

Meng Heng, an activist with conservation NGO Mother Nature, said that the students were on their way to visit villagers in Srekor and Kbal Romea who are refusing to relocate. The students were denied entry by about 20 police and Military Police who claimed the area was unsafe.

“A pickup truck full of police overtook them and stopped in front of the bus to . . . force them to return,” Heng said.

“We tried to persuade officials to allow them to access, but they still said no, saying that they had orders from their senior official. Some of the students felt fear, and they all returned,” Heng continued.

Heng said the students wanted to see the reality of the villagers’ situation for themselves.

“The authority does not want the information to be heard by outsiders,” he said, claiming the local authorities were acting like dictators.

About 120 families in Srekor and 58 in Kbal Romea are refusing to relocate, despite the imminent flooding of their villages when the dam closes its gates.

Choeun Sreymom, a villager from Kbal Romea, said she was disappointed that the students were denied entry, and accused the authorities of violating human rights.

“The students are simple people who want to know our difficulties,” she said.

Men Kong, Stung Treng Provincial Hall spokesman, said authorities are working to resolve the dispute with the villagers, and outsiders would just cause a disturbance.

“We were concerned about their safety,” Kong said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the