Land Issues

Report Land Grabbing and Poverty in Cambodia: The Myth of Development 2009

June 6, 2009

In recent years it has become a tragic cliche to say that Cambodia is suffering from an "epidemic" of land-grabbing by the rich and powerful - an epidemic which is resulting in the loss of residence and livelihoods by the poor and vulnerable on a massive scale.

In the 13 provinces in which LICADHO works - roughly half the country - more than a quarter of a million people have been affected by land-grabbing and forced evictions since 2003.

Video Forced Eviction Coming at Borei Keila

April 30, 2009audio available

Over 30 families living with HIV/AIDS in the "green shed" at the Borei Keila social land concession are facing the prospect of eviction. The families living in the temporary "green shed" have been waiting for new apartments to be allocated to them for the past 2 years, but they are now faced with the prospect of being evicted to the Toul Sambo relocation site 20km outside of Phnom Penh. At Toul Sambo there is inadeuqate housing, no clean water and is far from any markets, schools, employment opportunities and most importantly medical facilities.

Learn more about Borei Keila from our partner WITNESS.

Article Cambodian Army Occupies Villagers' Farmland With Tanks

April 2, 2009

In November 2008, villagers in Preah Neth Preah commune lost farmland which they had used for 30 years when armed soldiers and tanks occupied the land. What was once peaceful fertile farmland is now home to military tanks, which has frightened and impoverished the local people.

Statement Government must take action over Chi Kreng violence in Siem Reap

March 27, 2009

LICADHO today called upon the Royal Cambodian Government to take urgent action in response to the unjustified violence by authorities against villagers involved in a land dispute in Chi Kreng district of Siem Reap province last weekend.

"This was extremely serious violence against villagers committed by government armed forces, and it demands a strong response by the government," said LICADHO president Kek Galabru. "The police and other officials who committed this violence must be punished, and there must be a fair resolution to this land dispute."

Four villagers were wounded when members of a joint force - including police, military police, border police and soldiers - opened fire on a crowd of farmers in Anlong Samnor commune on Sunday, March 22.

Statement Impact of evictions on women highlighted on International Women’s Day

March 6, 2009

Women and children are suffering immensely from Cambodia's epidemic of evictions, LICADHO said today, International Women's Day. "Sadly, there is nothing special about this day for the many Cambodian women who are struggling to feed their families because they have been evicted from their homes or are living in fear of eviction,” said LICADHO president Kek Galabru. “It is just another day of hardship and suffering.”

Article Victims of the Dey Krahorm Eviction Continue to be Targeted by Authorities

March 2, 2009

On 24 January, 2009 hundreds of families were forcibly evicted from Dey Krahorm in the heart of Phnom Penh. In the month following the eviction, residents struggled with the poor living conditions at the Damnak Trayeoung relocation site while others mounted protests to demand proper compensation for their stolen land and destroyed houses. However, for three former Dey Krahrom residents the repercussions of their struggle to save their land now includes criminal convictions.

Video Land Crisis in Cambodia: Kratie Province

February 19, 2009audio available

750 ethnic minority families in Kratie Province, Cambodia are embroiled in a land dispute over farming land, that the provincial authorities say they have leased to a private company for a rubber plantation. In October 2008 the bulldozers came into clear the land and the villagers were there to stop them.

(Music courtesy of the Messengers Band)

Article Nightmare at Dey Krahorm: Forced Eviction in the Heart of Phnom Penh

February 8, 2009

In the early morning hours of Saturday January 24, 2009 approximately 500 demolition workers escorted by 300 mixed police in full riot gear surrounded the community of Dey Krahorm. Their mission, to forcibly evict the approximately 400 families that were living on the disputed land in the heart of Phnom Penh.

At 6am the police armed with electric and steel batons, wooden sticks, tear gas, water cannons and guns moved towards the remaining Dey Khrahorm families who had erected barricades and stood defiantly in front of their houses. The police were able to brake through the villagers' lines and disburse them with the use of tear gas, water cannons and rubber projectiles.

Statement Dey Krahorm Eviction: Adequate compensation & humanitarian action needed

January 30, 2009

LICADHO once more calls upon the government and the 7NG company to urgently ensure adequate compensation for all the families who were brutally evicted from Dey Krahorm on January 24.

LICADHO is deeply concerned that 7NG continues to refuse to provide cash compensation to an estimated 144 evicted house owners, insisting that instead it will only provide some (and not all) of them with apartments at the Damnak Trayeoung relocation site outside of Phnom Penh city. 7NG has imposed a deadline of January 31 for 85 of the house owners to register to accept apartments or they will receive nothing at all.

"7NG needs to get serious about providing adequate compensation to these evicted home owners, instead of imposing arbitrary deadlines and issuing threats that these people will receive nothing," said LICADHO director Naly Pilorge. "It is long overdue that 7NG starts to do the right thing, instead of continuing its thuggish behavior.

Video Violent Eviction at Dey Krahorm

January 27, 2009audio available

This video is a compilation of footage captured by human rights monitors on January 24, 2009 during the violent eviction at Dey Krahorm. Video footage courtesy of Platapus, LICADHO, LICADHO Canada, Bridges Across Borders, and Karl Bille.

Photo Album Razing Dey Krahorm: The Death of a Village

January 25, 2009

On Saturday, January 24, 2009, hundreds of police and military police helped a private company into forcefully evicting Dey Krahorm community in central Phnom Penh.

Statement Civil Society groups strongly condemn illegal eviction of Dey Krahorm

January 24, 2009

We strongly condemn the forced eviction of Dey Krahorm residents which began at 6 a.m. on Saturday 24 January, 2009. This was carried out by over 300 police officers and up to 500 breakers hired by the private company 7NG. It is yet another example of the violent evictions taking place across Cambodia which are in danger of destabilizing the country.

Today's eviction was marked by excessive use of force endangering the lives of Dey Krahorm residents, and resulting in over 18 injuries ‐ 5 of which were serious. It also saw the systematic destruction of private property, while the police and breakers hired by 7NG blocked attempts by human rights observers and the press to monitor and report on the event.

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.