PHNOM PENH —
Former residents of the Borei Keila community clashed with security forces during the fifth anniversary of the violent eviction of the village at the hands of military and police forces after they attempted to occupy a building on the site.
The attempted occupation of the building on Tuesday was followed by demands for compensation from the Phanimex company, a construction conglomerate with ties to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, which they claim has not been forthcoming or adequate.
Khiev Lai, a former Borei Keila resident now living in the Phnom Bat community, said many of the residents had received little or no compensation.
“More than 140 families were forced to move and they will gather and move back to the building if the company does not compensate them from five to 10 thousand dollars,” she said.
“There is no water supply nor infrastructure. They rely solely on sponsorship. If there is no sponsorship, they will have no food to eat and their children are now begging in order to support the family.”
Security forces managed to move the protesters from the building on Tuesday. No serious injuries were reported.
Kim Sarun, another former resident, said she had been struck in the scuffle, called on the government to advocate for more compensation for the evictees. “It is a violation of human rights. Where is justice? Where is democracy?” she asked.
Prak Hak, head of the district security force, said he was following orders in using force to prevent the group from occupying the building.
“They were disturbing us. They were moving their daily living wares into houses that are already owned. Following the governor’s order, I was told to inform them to leave, and if they resisted, I had no choice but to force them to leave,” he said.
The Phanimex Company, owned by tycoon Suy Sophan, pledged to build 10 buildings for the former residents, but has so far only constructed eight.
Am Sam Ath, monitoring director at local rights group Licadho, said “the principle of development is to improve the living standards of people, not undermine the living standards of people.”
Am Sam Ath stated that the clash occurred because the company did not fulfill and the government did not try to solve the problem. He said: the principle of development is to improve the living standard of people, not undermining the living standard of people.”