The international rights group Amnesty International called on the government Monday to end forced evictions.
The displacement from people from land claimed by government officials or businesses is causing thousands to suffer, the group said, citing dozens of cases.
Speaking from the disputed Dey Krahorm neighborhood of Phnom Penh, Brittis Edman, a researcher for Amnesty International, called on the government to cease forced evictions until better laws are in place to guarantee property protection.
At least 150,000 people have been affected by forced displacement, she said, adding that the government has an obligation under international law to protect populations from such removal.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith dismissed the group’s findings.
“Maybe Amnesty International doesn’t know Cambodian law,” Khieu Kanharith said. “If you only talk jokingly like this it could destroy your reputation.”
Sam Ny, a 33-year-old resident of Dey Krahorm, an area where many families are facing eviction, said companies who want the land should buy it at a fair market price.
“We only want appropriate compensation for us to move from this land,” he said. “And then we won’t be against them anymore.”
Forced evictions in the area have lead to the razing of 80 homes and clashes between police and residents. Thirteen people have been arrested a result.