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Donors Call on Halt to Evictions

Six foreign governments, the UN and major international development institutions called on the government to put an end to forced evictions Friday, as workers began dismantling a neighborhood of shanties in the capital.

Some 88 families are being evicted from the Group 78 area, near the National Assembly building in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, to make way for development.

This week’s eviction was only the latest to oust impoverished residents from a capital city that has seen skyrocketing land values.

“We cannot say whether we agree or not, but we have to get compensation of $20,000 for our living,” Uk Sophear, a resident of the Group 78, said. “This is our last choice.”

“We have much sorrow, and we are very disappointed in the compensation, because our land is bigger than others’,” he said.

In a letter Friday, the embassies of Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and Denmark, along with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other donors called on the government “to stop forced evictions from disputed areas in Phnom Penh and elsewhere in the country until a fair and transparent mechanism for resolving land disputes is put in place and a comprehensive resettlement policy is developed.”