Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN envoy Smith talks evictions

UN envoy Smith talks evictions

UN envoy Rhona Smith speaks with Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon yesterday in Phnom Penh.
UN envoy Rhona Smith speaks with Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon yesterday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

UN envoy Smith talks evictions

UN special Rapporteur Rhona Smith yesterday sat down with the company behind one of the Kingdom’s most high-profile land disputes, after earlier discussing human rights monitoring in her first meeting with Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon.

Smith’s afternoon meeting with a representative of the Ly Yong Phat Group followed a visit on Sunday to Kampong Speu, where she met with residents displaced by the LYP-owned Phnom Penh Sugar Company when it was granted an economic land concession there in 2010.

Eang Vuthy, executive director of land-rights NGO Equitable Cambodia, said Smith promised while there that she would raise concerns among civil society and community members about the company-led compensation process. While a large group of families recently accepted compensation in highly public fashion, others have claimed they were bullied into accepting below-market rates.

LYP Group representatives did not respond to requests for comment following the meeting. But Wan-Hea Lee, country representative for the UN human rights office (OHCHR) in Cambodia, described the sit-down as “productive”, saying the LYP representative was “receptive” to the rapporteur’s remarks, although no one within the UN would comment on the meeting.

A post on the OHCHR’s Facebook page said the meeting’s purpose was to allow Smith “to better understand the work of the companies towards resolving the on-going land disputes”.

Earlier in the day, Smith met Foreign Minister Sokhon for an “introductory meeting” at which the human rights situation in Cambodia was discussed. Both parties agreed that rights monitoring did not “threaten or compromise” the sovereignty of the country, per a post on the UN envoy’s Facebook page.

Speaking to local media, ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said the two had also discussed democratic rights, as well as Cambodians’ right to freedom of association and expression.

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 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

  • 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

  • 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’

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted