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Many Forced Evictions on Horizon: Groups

Dozens of urban poor communities in the capital are facing the prospect of evictions with little compensation, a broad coalition of rights groups and housing advocates said Wednesday.

Phnom Penh has approximately 410 communities of poor families inside its eight districts, and of those, 74 are facing imminent eviction, the coalition told reporters.

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, the Housing Rights Task Force and the NGO Forum jointly expressed deep concern that the communities, which have already received notification from the government, will not be properly paid for moving.

The coalition said it worried that notified families will not be able to find jobs, afford new homes or properly educate their children when they are removed from the city.

The municipality often gives reasons of development when evicting families, Ny Chakrya, a lead investigator for the rights group Adhoc, told reporters.

The problem will be exacerbated with the passage of the Law on Expropriation, which passed through the National Assembly on Tuesday, because it tightens controls on people who occupy land without title, he said.

Man Chhouen, a deputy governor of Phnom Penh, denied families were unhappy when evicted from their homes, saying they are generally glad to move to a new area.

“The government guarantees that all legal possessors will have equal access to the titling system,” he said.