Hun Sen ‘looks down’ on land grab victims: NGOs

Hun Sen ‘looks down’ on land grab victims: NGOs

A coalition of housing rights groups that represent evicted communities has accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of “looking down” on victims of land grabbing after comments he made on Thursday.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Stung Meanchey overpass, Hun Sen asked the city’s poor not to squat under the bridge, an area the Phnom Penh Municipality plans to make a recreational space.

“Please, have mercy. Don’t stay under the bridge and make it your home,” the premier said. He then seemed to refer to how unspecified land activists had settled in areas and then made claims of land grabbing “using a theory that the winner gets the land, the loser gets money and you file a complaint to the European Union.”

Hun Sen later called on EU Ambassador Jean-François Cautain, who was present, to officially witness that “no one” lives under the bridge.

“But later people will claim they have lived here since 1979…If in three years, you leave and a new ambassador comes, they will go to petition him, so he accepts it and then comes to ask for government intervention. Cambodia has these kinds [of people].”

In a statement yesterday, the Housing Rights Task Force said the speech “looked down on the poor residents of Cambodia, affected by land grabbing in the past, currently and in the coming future”.

“As His Excellency was himself living among monks in a pagoda in his youth, he should know compassion and how painful it feels to see people looking down on others because of someone’s status,” the groups said.

Chhay Kimhorn, a representative of the Borei Keila community, accused the premier of unfairly generalising.

“Our cases are different to what Hun Sen said, but his speech intended to attack our community because Boeung Kak and Borei Keila people have protested.”

Government spokesman Tith Sothea declined to comment.


  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the