Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US House passes B Kak bill

US House passes B Kak bill

Boeung Kak lake land rights activist Yorm Bopha is swarmed by supporters and media at Phnom Penh’s municipal police station late last year after being released on bail.
Boeung Kak lake land rights activist Yorm Bopha is swarmed by supporters and media at Phnom Penh’s municipal police station late last year after being released on bail. Heng Chivoan

US House passes B Kak bill

A draft US law that would require the World Bank to regularly report to congress about the condition of families displaced or still living in the Boeung Kak lake area was approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

The bill includes language that specifically requires the World Bank’s executive director to give periodic reports to the US Congress about the bank’s progress in restoring the livelihoods of residents displaced due to failures in the bank-funded Land Management and Administration Project. The bill will now move to the Senate.

“On behalf of the Boeung Kak villagers, we are grateful to the US House of Representatives for deciding to put pressure on the World Bank to urge a solution for our community,” Boeung Kak activist Tep Vanny said last night.

The bill’s approval in the House is a victory for Boeung Kak residents and activists, said Eang Vuthy, executive director of rights group Equitable Cambodia. “This bill is clearly a benefit to … the community,” he said. “I think the US government has the intention to monitor this problem.”

Language in a previous draft version of the bill called for the World Bank to discontinue all funding in Cambodia until people displaced by the project are fully compensated or another amenable solution is reached, Vuthy said.

The World Bank stopped loaning to Cambodia in 2011, after an 18-month investigation into the government’s expulsion of Boeung Kak residents from their homes to make way for a large-scale development project carried out by a company headed by ruling party senator Lao Meng Khin.

Communications officer Saroeun Bou said yesterday that the World Bank was currently “undertaking public consultations with stakeholders to inform the development of the planned Interim Strategy Note (ISN) for the future partnership between Cambodia and the World Bank Group”.

In a joint statement released after the bill gained US House approval, David Pred, managing associate of Inclusive Development International, lauded it. “When the Bank’s management scrapped its remedial action plan and stopped reporting to the Board about it, they seemed to have thought they could brush the Boeung Kak case under the carpet and quietly go back to business as usual in Cambodia,” Pred said.

“Now they will need to think twice.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to