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

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol

  • Ministry to 'seek justice' for officials indicted in US for 'monkey smuggling'

    The Cambodian government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said they will make the “utmost effort” to seek justice for a Cambodian official arrested in John F Kennedy International Airport in New York for allegedly conspiring to smuggle crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,