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

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group