Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Subedi ‘concerned’ by Borei Keila

Subedi ‘concerned’ by Borei Keila

Subedi ‘concerned’ by Borei Keila

120510_03

Surya Subedi, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights, speaks to residents of the Borei Keila community yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Meng Kimlong/Phnom Penh Post

Borei Keila evictees, waiting for the arrival of UN Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi, cheered as children tore down signs advertising a motorcycle business on the very land development firm Phan Imex promised to house them.

When Subedi’s UN convoy arrived about 30 minutes later, he was mobbed by vocal residents as he was led on a tour of Borei Keila – past tents, over piles of rubbish and through swarms of flies.

“I am concerned for your situation,” he told the crowd. “It doesn’t seem to be only a human-rights matter, but also a humanitarian matter.

“The conditions in which you have been forced to live don’t seem to be adequate for the 21st century.”

Villagers have lived under staircases and near piles of rubbish since Phan Imex, backed by the Phnom Penh Municipal authority, demolished their homes on January 3.

Others accepted relocation to squalid conditions on the outskirts of the capital and in Kandal province.

“I have made my representation at a very high level of the government and assure you that I will continue to do so,” Subedi said.

When asked what he had talked to the government about, Subedi did not say.

“I have intervened in the past and I will do so again after I have studied the petitions very carefully,” he said.

Two buildings, one a warehouse, have being constructed this year where Phan Imex was to build the remaining two residential high-rises.

Cheang Sreychorn, a 33-year-old villager, said residents were angry to see signs advertising a new motorcycle business on the warehouse.

“We will not allow the company to do as it wants,” she said as villagers carried kitchenware and bedding into the “Borei Keila Motorcycle Store”, shortly before its signs were ripped down.

Ee Sarom, program co-ordinator of the NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut, said he hoped Subedi would act on his word.

“We hope [he] will raise this issue with the government and push for an urgent solution aimed at reducing this poverty,” he said.

Phan Imex owner Suy Sophan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]
Shane Worrell at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Koreans arrested carrying $2.2M at Siem Reap airport

    Two South Koreans were nabbed by immigration police at Siem Reap International Airport on Sunday when attempting to bring more than $2 million in cash into Cambodia from Hong Kong. The National Police website on Monday said two Korean men aged 44 and 33 were arrested shortly after

  • Shanxi wins bid to build sections of new Siem Reap airport

    Shanxi Mechanization Construction Group recently won the bid to build two sections of the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport project in Cambodia for 290 million yuan ($42.16 million). The existing Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap, 5km from the famous ancient temple complex and world tourism

  • Cambodia rejects call by UN for open invite

    Cambodia has rejected a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recommendation submitted by five countries at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) calling on the Kingdom to issue a standing invitation to UN special procedures to visit at any time. The rejection was part of the 25 recommendations

  • Cambodia’s medical system is due for a check-up

    In Cambodia, many high-ranking government officials and public figures seek medical treatment abroad – including Prime Minister Hun Sen. With this in mind, it is not surprising that many locals also seem to often distrust local healthcare facilities. Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies