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UN Officials Calls for Respect for Human Rights

United Nations human rights experts today calls for the respect of human rights in the Tunle Bassac district in Phnom Penh after thousands of families were evicted in exchange for some lands in the suburbs.

In a statement, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative on human rights defenders, Hina Jilan, and Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living Miloon Kothari say they are concerned about this eviction and that these residents have reportedly been living in the area since the 1990s.

They are concerned about the health risks of these several hundred families as the monsoon season is quickly approaching.

The area is believed to be sold to a private company for development. Some families that rent the place clash with commune authorities Wednesday morning with two people wounded.

Phnom Penh mayor Kep Chutema says that he has solved the problem with people who own houses there, but for the renters, they will be dealt with according to regulations. He continues that this is not the first time that the U.N. has criticized the government about evictions, even Prime Minister Hen Sen says so, and that he has held talks with the people three months ago.

The Phnom Penh governor goes on to say that he is trying to solve the problem, and that the people themselves agreed with the company and volunteered to take the land.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP) legislator Ho Van blames the government's unclear measure dealing with such issues. The experts' statement say that theee are concerns that the aufthorities may resort to force to evict these families on the operation in the Bassac river area.