Topic

Land Issues

Statement Military Police brutality during unlawful land-grab

January 17, 2009

LICADHO condemns the actions of military police officers who have committed violence, including shooting two people, while assisting a private company to unlawfully grab villagers' land in Kandal Stung district of Kandal province.

Over the past few days, police and military police have been deployed to help workers from the Heng Development Company to try to confiscate villagers' farmland - in violation of a 2006 court verdict which upheld the villagers' right to the land.

On Friday, January 16, two villagers were shot by military police during the community's attempts to prevent bulldozers owned by the company from encroaching on their land. According to a LICADHO doctor who saw the victims, one of the men was shot in the arm and also had bullet fragments removed from his stomach. The other suffered a deep wound from a bullet fragment which struck his waist. Both men, aged 23 and 28, remain hospitalized.

Article Borei Keila: Cambodia's Social Housing Project Five Years On

December 19, 2008

The Borei Keila social land concession: the Government's commitment to housing Phnom Penh's urban poor - new apartments for families in exchange for land given to commercial developers. Borei Keila was the first of four social land concessions in Phnom Penh and was meant to be the model alternative to the eviction and off-site relocation of the city's urban poor. Now over 5 years later, only 3 out of 10 apartment buildings have been completed and only 30% of families have received their promised apartments while the remaining families continue to live in squalid conditions awaiting the construction and allocation of their apartments.

Video Boeung Kak Lake: $79 million for who?

December 11, 2008audio available

In February 2007 the Municipality of Phnom Penh entered into a 99-year lease agreement for US$79 million for 133 hectares, including Boeung Kok lake and surrounding land, with a private developer, Shukaku Inc, owned by a ruling party senator. According to the government, the company will turn the area into "pleasant, trade, and service places for domestic and international tourists," including by filling in 90% of the lake.

On 26 August 2008 a company began filling the lake, which has worsened flooding and caused the destruction of some houses. The development will lead to the eviction of almost 4,000 families, despite many of the affected families having strong legal claims to the land under the Land Law.

Statement Open letter regarding forced eviction of Boeung Kak Lake residents

December 4, 2008

Open Letter by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International Regarding the Forced Eviction of Residents of Boeung Kak Lake in the Phnom Penh Municipality.

We write to you to express our deep concerns about recent developments affecting residents of the Boeung Kak Lake area in central Phnom Penh. Some residents near the lake have been forcibly evicted, while others are facing eviction amid rising water levels, and threats and harassment.

Statement Violent eviction in Kampot should be halted

November 18, 2008

LICADHO calls for the immediate suspension of an ongoing violent eviction led by Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) soldiers in Kampot province which has seen numerous homes burned down and at least three people injured by beatings.

Since yesterday, armed soldiers from RCAF Infantry Brigade 31, along with police, military police and Forestry Administration officers, have been trying to evict approximately 300 families from land in Anlong Kraom village, Taken commune, Chhuk district of Kampot. They burned down about 130 wooden shacks belonging to the families yesterday, and most of the remaining 170 homes today. They have instructed all the families to leave the area by tonight.

The evicted families are not being offered any alternative land but simply being told to leave the area. The people whose houses were destroyed yesterday spent last night sleeping in the ashes of their burned homes.

Photo Album Kampot Forced Eviction

November 18, 2008

RCAF Brigade 31 led an armed group to forcefully evict 300 families in Ta Ken commune, Chhuk district, Kampot.

Statement Courts used as weapon against community representatives

October 29, 2008

The filing of criminal charges against nine community representatives from around Cambodia in the past week highlight the widespread misuse of the law against communities who try to defend themselves in land disputes, LICADHO said today.

"Community representatives continue to be arrested, charged and imprisoned because of their efforts to assist fellow villagers to protect their land," said LICADHO president Kek Galabru. "Frequently, there is no justification whatsoever for the charges against them - the law is simply misused as a weapon to try to intimidate their communities into giving up land."

In the past week, nine community representatives from three provinces have been arrested and charged by the courts, and six of them sent to prison for pre-trial detention.

Statement Communities collectively lodge land complaints with authorities in Phnom Penh

October 8, 2008

Tomorrow, in a mark of solidarity amongst all the communities that are faced with eviction, land alienation and ongoing harassment, community representatives from 11 provinces will publicly present their land complaints, after having formally delivered the complaints to the authorities in Phnom Penh.
“Not only is our land being given away, we are facing increasing intimidation and violence. The problem is getting worse. We have no choice but to gather together and have a combined voice”. Community representatives from across Cambodia, Mr Som Chaing (Preah Vihear province) Mr. Sarine Kait (Kratie province) Mr. Rajom Tweng (Ratanakiri province) Ms. Laon Ceevy (Pursat province) "Systematic threats, violence and intimidation continue to be targeted against human rights defenders, especially those working on land issues. Only through genuine consultation and engagement of the affected communities will there be any resolution." Kek Galabru, President of the Cambodia League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO) In June 2008, communities from 5 of the provinces that had filed complaints against land concessions and alleged land grabbings were subjected to harassment by local authorities, including restrictions on their movement and ability to hold meetings, and police threats preventing the delivery of complaints to authorities in Phnom Penh. There have also been reports of physical violence and other threats and intimidation targeting community representatives who organized the filing of complaints.

Article Two Years After their Eviction from the Center of Phnom Penh Villagers are Still Living in Squalor

June 6, 2008

On June 6, 2006, more than 1000 families were violently expelled from their homes in Sambok Chap village in inner city Phnom Penh. The residents were forced onto trucks and taken to be dumped in an open field at Andong, 22km from central Phnom Penh their new 'home'. There was no shelter, electricity, running water, schools, health services or readily-available employment nearby.

Today 6 June 2008 marks the two year anniversary of the eviction, the site of their former homes in Sambok Chap slated for commercial development by a private company remains bare and unused, while the evictees continue to live in squalor at the Andong relocation site.

Article Land Disputes Across Cambodia Lead Villagers to Phnom Penh

June 4, 2008

In the past week the number of villagers coming to Phnom Penh to highlight land grievances shows the continuing dire situation of land-grabbing in Cambodia.

"People are still coming to Phnom Penh from all over the country, desperate for government officials to listen to their land problems and resolve them," said Kek Galabru, LICADHO's president. "This shows that land-grabbing is still rampant and that villagers are unable to get their grievances heard anywhere else."

Last week in just a short period of 48 hours, five groups of villagers from five provinces came to Phnom Penh because of unresolved land problems.

Statement Villagers flock to Phnom Penh as Land Crisis continues

May 29, 2008

The number of villagers coming to Phnom Penh to highlight land grievances - with people from five provinces arriving in the capital within the past 48 hours - shows the continuing dire situation of land-grabbing in Cambodia.

"People are still coming to Phnom Penh from all over the country, desperate for government officials to listen to their land problems and resolve them," said Kek Galabru, LICADHO’s president. "This shows that land-grabbing is still rampant and that villagers are unable to get their grievances heard anywhere else."

Article Tear Gas and Gunfire During Latest Violent Eviction In Cambodia's Capital

February 28, 2008

Early on the morning of 22 February, 2008, more than 100 heavily-armed military police, intervention police and district police officers violently and forcibly evicted 23 households in Banla S'et village, Khmuonh commune, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh. As a result, four villagers were injured and eight were detained, leaving behind a dismantled community with nowhere to go.

The eviction was carried out less than 24 hours after the community received notice of eviction. Military and police forces arrived shortly after 7.30am, and less than five minutes later, fired two tear gas canisters at residents while simultaneously shooting dozens of AK-47 bullets into the air, in a blatant attempt to intimidate and force the community to leave. Many bullets were also fired directly at a nearby vehicle, which subsequently exploded.

Article Cambodian Land Eviction Crisis Draws International Attention

February 25, 2008

On 19 February, 2008, two international human rights organizations and two Cambodian NGOs called upon Cambodian authorities to take effective measures to combat the practice of forced evictions which constitutes a flagrant violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international human rights instruments that the Kingdom of Cambodia has ratified.

Statement Condemnation of More Violence in Phnom Penh Land Cases

February 22, 2008

Cambodian and international human rights organizations are united in condemning two separate violent incidents, which have resulted in blood shed over land in Phnom Penh within the past 48 hours at the Reak Reay and Russey Keo communities. The Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), NGO Forum on Cambodia, LICADHO, Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) and Bridges Across Borders deplore these violent acts and call on the Royal Government of Cambodia to impose an immediate moratorium on evictions until effective legal protections are made available for persons affected by evictions.

About 100 heavily-armed local police and military police on the morning of Friday, 22 February forcibly evicted 23 households. This eviction resulted in injury to at least four villagers, one with a serious head wound, and the arrest of eight others. As part of the eviction, the police fired two tear gas canisters at the residents and fired dozens of AK-47 bullets into the air to intimidate and threaten the community. Numerous gunshots struck a nearby dilapidated vehicle, which had been used to store gasoline, which exploded.

Statement Forced Evictions in Cambodia: Time to End Impunity

February 19, 2008

Two international human rights organizations and two Cambodian NGOs called today upon Cambodian authorities to take effective measures to combat the practice of forced evictions which constitutes a flagrant violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other international human rights instruments that the Kingdom of Cambodia has ratified.

The call was made by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders - a joint programme of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) - along with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO).

Prison Population Watch
12,784 Occupancy Rate: →153%

Click here for the latest report on prison overcrowding
Monthly population figures as of May 31, 2014, from the 18 prisons monitored by LICADHO

The Great Cambodian Giveaway

Visualizing Land Concessions over Time