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After Families Evicted From Village, Rights Workers Seek Solution


FILE - Women walk past houses, built for the residents being displaced by land sales, at Botum Sakor National Park in Koh Kong province, Feb. 20, 2012.

The families were forcefully removed from their homes in Chitres village, Botum Sakor National Park.

Rights workers are seeking to help 40 families who were evicted from their homes in Koh Kong province last week by military police and wildlife rangers.

The families were forcefully removed from their homes in Chitres village, Botum Sakor National Park.

In Kongchet, a local rights monitor for local NGO Adhoc, said he had met with the provincial governor, Orn Phearak, to seek a solution for the Chitres villagers.

“We think that this act seemed to not help the poor people at all, while they have grown crops in the land,” he said.

The authorities and rangers, allegedly supported by the Wildlife Alliance, accused the villagers of poaching and illegal logging, he added.

Phearak, the governor, told Kongchet the villagers would likely be allotted some 600 hectares of land.

The villagers are involved in a land dispute with a company called Sinomexim Investment.

Kongchet said it was unlikely the government would follow through on its promises.

Another company, the Chinese conglomerate Union Development Group, is constructing a large luxury resort in the park at the cost of some $3.8 billion.

Phearak declined to comment on the families’ eviction, requesting a face-to-face meeting.

The director of Botum Sakor National Park, Ung Vanny, and declined to comment.

Nob Neth, a Wildlife Alliance representative, said the villagers had repeatedly strayed outside the boundaries of their allotted land.

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